Syria’s Health Ministry offers medical supplies to SVG
October 22, 2010
Syria’s Health Ministry offers medical supplies to SVG

Prime Minister Gonsalves’ packed schedule in Syria included meetings with the President, Prime Minister, and ministers of information, foreign affairs, transport, higher education, health and economy and trade. The Prime Minister also visited some of the ancient religious sites in Syria.{{more}}

Prime Minister Gonsalves and his delegation met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. The Syrian President said he viewed Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as an important part of his nation’s renewed outreach to Latin America and the Caribbean. President al-Assad stressed that, while his country is not very wealthy, he was confident that Syria could find creative ways to partner with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the Argyle International Airport, education, health, trade and tourism.

Prime Minister Gonsalves and his delegation engaged the various ministers whose areas of responsibility were covered in the discussions with President Bashar al-Assad. Prime Minister Gonsalves and Dr. Matthias discussed the Argyle International Airport and other infrastructural projects with Dr. Yaroub Bader, Minister of Transport of Syria. Similarly, Dr. Ghiath Barakat, Minister of Higher Education of Syria, pledged to offer scholarships in Arabic, Mathematics and the sciences to Vincentian students in the next academic year. Mrs. Lamia Assi, the Minister of Economy and Trade, asked Prime Minister Gonsalves to send a Vincentian trade and investment delegation to Syria as soon as possible, to explore avenues and opportunities for Syrian investment in tourism and commerce.

The Vincentian delegation also met with Dr. Reda Siad, Syria’s Minister of Health. Prime Minister Gonsalves discussed exchanges of doctors and nurses with Dr. Siad. Dr. Barry Assi, a Syrian-Vincentian who completed his medical training in Syria, also discussed procuring pharmaceuticals and medical supplies from Syria on behalf of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Dr. Assi had previously held similar discussions with large providers in Qatar.

The Syrian Ministry of Health provided the Vincentian delegation with a large number of sample medical products that may be of interest to OECS countries.

Prime Minister Gonsalves and his delegation also visited a number of ancient religious sites in Syria. The Prime Minister visited and prayed at the Church of Saint Thecla and the Chapel of Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus in Maaloula, Syria. The Chapel was built in the fourth century AD, and is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. Prime Minister Gonsalves also visited Convent of Our Lady in Saidnaya, Syria. The Convent, completed in 547AD, is also one of the oldest Christian convents in the world. The PM also toured the Ummayad Mosque, which is one of the largest and oldest mosques still in operation. The Mosque, which is the fourth-holiest site in Islam, was once visited by Pope John Paul II. It was the first mosque ever visited by a Pope.