Russia announced Tuesday that it will invest 500 million dollars in the modernization of the Syrian port of Tartus, in the Mediterranean Sea
Russia announced Tuesday that it will invest 500 million dollars in the modernization of the Syrian port of Tartus, in the Mediterranean Sea, which hosts the only Russian naval base abroad. ” Russia intends to put the order in the old port and build a new commercial port. The sum of the investment in the next four years will amount to 500 million dollars, ” Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Russian press.
Under that program, he announced that Moscow will begin in 2020 the construction of a new cereal transport terminal, “which will allow Russia, as a major grain exporter, to guarantee a permanent presence in the Middle East market.”
49-year cession of Syria
Borisov made these statements after meeting in Damascus with the Syrian leader, Bachar al Asad, with whom he addressed issues such as the restoration of civil infrastructure. Under a bilateral agreement made public in early 2017, Syria ceded the port of Tartus to Russia as a naval base for the next 49 years.
In this regard, the senior Russian official stressed that, although the volume of cargo in the port is still low, Russia has managed to create 3,700 jobs in recent years. At the time, the Russian press reported dredging work to increase the depth of the port in order to allow the berthing of tourist cruises.
Tartus has served as a point of technical maintenance and supply for the Soviet and then Russian fleet since the 1970s under an agreement signed with Hafez al Asad, the father of the current Syrian leader.
The Russian Navy returned to the Mediterranean in 2013 after more than twenty years of absence, and ships such as the aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” and the destroyer “Peter the Great” participated since 2015 in the bombings against jihadist positions in Syria.
Borisov also announced plans to build a railroad that crosses the territories of Iraq and Syria in order to create a transport corridor “Mediterranean Sea-Persian Gulf”, which would trigger the transfer of cargo through the port of Tartus.
In the meeting with Al Asad, the Russian official announced the supply of 100,000 tons of grain to the Arab country as humanitarian aid, delivery that will begin later this year, and highlighted the resumption of operations in Homs of the only plant in chemical fertilizers from Syria, in which some 200 million dollars will be invested. In addition, both addressed the recovery of control over areas of the country that host the largest oil fields.
“The peace process in Syria has an irreversible character, but the restoration of the economy will still have to face many difficulties, especially in the context of sanctions” against Damascus, Borisov said.