Syria says relations with Iran will remain strong

Comments follow Saudi attempt to persuade Damascus to distance itself from Teheran.

assad ahmadinejad 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
assad ahmadinejad 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Syria's foreign minister on Monday said his country's relations with Iran will remain strong. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem's comments appear to be directed at moderate Sunni Arab countries hoping to peal Syria away from its Shi'ite Persian ally. Al-Moallem described Syria's relationship with Iran as "excellent" during a joint press conference in Damascus with Arab League Chief Amr Moussa. His comments came a week after Saudi Arabia hosted the leaders of Syria, Egypt and Kuwait in a move aimed at persuading Damascus to distance itself from Tehran. Syria has been Iran's closest ally in the Arab world for three decades. Riyadh had hoped the one-day mini-Arab summit would help improve the frayed relations with Syria ahead of a larger Arab summit in Qatar later this month. The leaders discussed a number of issues in the Arab arena in addition to "clearing the air" and achieving reconciliation to unite Arab ranks, according to Saudi sources quoted in Arab press reports on Wednesday. The leader of another US ally, Kuwait, also attended the Saudi gathering, Kuwait's news agency reported. Syria has been bitterly feuding with Egypt and Saudi Arabia over several political issues - especially its close alliance with Iran and with Palestinian and Lebanese terrorist groups.