The Deputy Chairwoman
of the State Duma Anna Kuznetsova
Anna Yurievna held a working meeting with Luna Al-Shibl, Special Advisor to the President of the Syrian Arab Republic. The Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Sholban Kara-ool Kara-ool
Sholban Valerievich , Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Russian Federation Riad Haddad and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation also took part in the meeting.
Luna Al-Shibl informed that after a meeting of the Russian delegation headed by Special Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev with President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad held in Damascus in November 2021, where both sides presented proposals for addressing the situation in refugee camps located on the territories not controlled by the official authorities, the Syrian side had prepared a roadmap to resolve current problems. “We are ready to discuss cooperation on the implementation of the roadmap, know more about the proposals of the Russian side and whether Russia is ready to start work on this issue,” said the Special Advisor to the Syrian Presidency.
Anna Kuznetsova noted a gradual shift in attitudes of the international community towards repatriation of minors. “Now we see that some people support us when we raise this issue at international platforms. The issue of returning children is very important for many states, they support this work, even though some countries hold different views,” said the Deputy Chairwoman of the State Duma.
During the meeting, Anna Kuznetsova presented proposals that should be included in the roadmap, as well as ways to implement them, including through development of new areas of cooperation between Russian and Syrian parliamentarians.
Sholban Kara-ool mentioned achievements in cooperation between parliamentarians of the two countries, in particular, the Friendship Group on cooperation with the Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic is one of the largest. “This demonstrates the high level of cooperation between the states”, stressed the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma. Another delegation of the State Duma paid a humanitarian visit to the Syrian Arab Republic in the end of December 2021.
The meeting participants drew attention to the fact that there were citizens of about 60 countries in refugee camps and noted the importance to involve other interested countries in the work.
“The situation in the camps is critical, first of all, for minors, and the problems of children should encourage all of us to join efforts as this issue could not be resolved by each individual state alone. And taking into account the process of radicalization of minors, the situation is extremely alarming for everyone. This issue was also discussed at the meeting of the Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, and Syria had recently become an Organization’s member state,” said Anna Kuznetsova.
“The repatriation of children is not only a humanitarian mission aimed at saving them, but it is also prevention of terrorism. Being on these territories, children may be subjected to the influence which could pose a threat not only to the children, but also to the future of our countries. Therefore, we welcome such an active position of Syria, we believe that it is necessary to involve new allies in this work, and for our part, we are ready to provide the necessary support,” emphasized the Deputy Chairwoman of the State Duma.
In November 2021, Anna Kuznetsova took part in the International Conference on Repatriation of Refugees, held in Damascus. During the event, she met with the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad and they discussed issues of cooperation to return Russian children from refugee camps back to Russia, as well as to draw attention of the world community to the problems of observing the rights of minors in these territories and issues of expanding formats of humanitarian cooperation in the interests of citizens of two countries. Earlier, as part of the instructions of the President of Russia, Anna Kuznetsova had managed to provide assistance and returned 219 children to the Russian Federation from prisons and shelters in Syria and from refugee camps located on territories not controlled by the official authorities. Russia’s Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights also performs activities aimed at returning children back to Russia.