Rebuilding and fight against terrorism top priority for Assad

Syrian youths walk past a billboard showing a photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the centre of the capital Damascus on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 10 July 2018

Rebuilding and fight against terrorism top priority for Assad

  • Syria’s war began in 2011 with protests against Assad’s rule that turned into a full-fledged conflict
  • Assad said his government would also focus on amending legislation, the return of refugees

DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Monday that his top priority was the reconstruction of his country, battered by more than seven years of fierce fighting.
He spoke during a gathering with his Foreign Affairs Minister Walid Muallem and other Syrian diplomats in Damascus, according to the presidency.
“Reconstruction is the top priority in Syria, backed up by the continued fight against terrorism,” Assad said.
Syria’s war began in 2011 with protests against Assad’s rule that turned into a full-fledged conflict.
Violence has gutted the country’s infrastructure, including electricity and water systems, schools and hospitals, and other institutions needed for daily civilian life.
In 2017, the World Bank estimated the cost of war-related losses in Syria at $226 billion, the equivalent of four times the country’s pre-war gross domestic product.
Top officials in the West publicly insist their countries will provide no reconstruction funds without a credible political transition away from Assad.
And the Syrian head of state, who has estimated rebuilding would cost $200 billion at the very least, has insisted he would refuse Western contributions.
In an interview in June with Russia’s NTV network, Assad said the West “won’t be part of reconstruction in Syria, because very simply we won’t allow them to be part of it, whether they come with money or not.”
On Monday, Assad said his government would also focus on amending legislation, the return of refugees who fled because of “terrorism” and reactivating the stalled political process.
More than 6 million Syrians have been internally displaced by the conflict, and another five million have fled to neighboring countries.
Since Assad’s ally Moscow intervened in 2015, Syrian troops have recaptured swathes of the country, most recently the southern region along the border with Jordan.


UAE adopts new government structure, full announcement to come on Sunday

Updated 10 min 31 sec ago

UAE adopts new government structure, full announcement to come on Sunday

  • The decision aims "to produce a government that is more flexible and fast and keeping pace with change," according to Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid
  • The gulf nation would review the structure and size of its government as part of its strategy for dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has adopted a new government structure, involving the merger of ministries and agencies, the country's vice president and ruler of Dubai said on Saturday, adding that the full announcement would be made on Sunday at noon (0800 GMT).

The decision aims "to produce a government that is more flexible and fast and keeping pace with change," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said on Twitter.

In May, he said the country would review the structure and size of its government as part of its strategy for dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.