Damascus, SANA – Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi said Syria will be stepping into the new year on solid bases, most importantly by continuing the fight against terrorists and pursuing the political process to solve the crisis in the country.
Addressing a People’s Assembly in a session chaired by Deputy Speaker Fehmi Hassan on Sunday, al-Halaqi added that those bases also include further pursuing national reconciliation, securing the citizens’ needs, continuing care for the martyrs’ families and moving ahead with reconstruction-related work.
“The time of the rise of ISIS and its sisters is approaching its end,” said al-Halaqi, referring to the terrorist organization of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
He affirmed that ISIS and the other terrorist organizations operating in Syria are inevitably doomed thanks to the sacrifices of the Syrian army and armed forces, security forces and popular defense groups, asserting that bringing security back to Syria is the government’s top priority.
Stressing the government’s commitment to continue handling the humanitarian situation, the Premier called upon the displaced Syrians outside the country to come back, pledging full support for them.
On the political level, al-Halaqi stressed that the government considers the national opposition as a partner in the Syrian-Syrian dialogue process, noting that political foundations are needed to be laid for this dialogue that could enable the Syrians to settle the urgent issues on the national agenda, adding that efforts to realize reconciliation will continue until comprehensive national reconciliation is achieved.
He said that the persistence of terrorism is due to the support provided to terrorist organizations by the West, some Arab states, Turkey, and Israel, noting that terrorism knows no borders and will eventually backfire on those who support and fund it, citing the recent events in France and saying that they are a prelude to this.
The Prime Minister said that the government will also continue to focus on improving the living conditions of citizens despite sanctions and shortages in resources, with emphasis on providing necessary services and goods at reasonable prices along with curbing corruption, squandering, smuggling, and monopolies.
He said that shortages in resources required rationalizing subsidies and controlling spending, saying that raising the prices of fuel, gas, and bread and giving the SYP 4,000 salary raise has created a total of SYP 6.5 billion of surplus funds, making this form of subsidies more valid and feasible.
Al-Halaqi detailed the amount of subsidies that the state provides for education, food items, electricity, agriculture, and social security, and addressed the recent shortages of fuel by saying that fuel production has decreased due to terrorist attacks, which coupled by the western economic embargo makes procuring the market’s needs more difficult, adding that steps have been taken that should address the shortages soon.
He also addressed the Central Bank’s monetary policy, reconstruction efforts, the Religious Endowments Ministry’s efforts to combat extremism, and cooperation with friendly countries.
During the session, the Assembly members stressed the need to provide citizens’ needs and improve their living conditions, with emphasis on monitoring prices, curbing profiteering, supporting development and services sectors, and combating corruption.
The members also addressed issues related to real-estate, the families of martyrs, agriculture, health, electricity, transport, and education, among other issues, with Premier al-Halaqi addressing some of the points raised by the members.
Haifa Said / Hazem Sabbagh