DAMASCUS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- As the Syrian army makes daily progress against armed rebels, Damascus is working to inject life into the nation's economy devastated by a three-year-old conflict to further reinforce its stance at the forthcoming Geneva II peace conference.
Recent reports revealed that a new line of credit between Syria and Russia will be signed soon as a part of the economic measures taken by Damascus with the aim to provide goods and foodstuffs to the markets. Syria signed lately a similar line of credit with Iran worth 1 billion U.S. dollars, which it had used to issue tenders for vital imports of food for the winter.
The same reports indicated that the government is working to create favorable climate for traders by re-pricing foodstuff, providing facilities and reconsidering reduction or exemption of certain taxes and fees.
The steps are seen as an attempt to lure back businessmen to the country amid reports that more than 70 percent of Syria's businessmen left the country with their families.
Syria also increased trade lately with neighboring countries, including Jordan, Iran and Lebanon.
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said recently that the basic goal of the government is to achieve distinctive steps in strengthening the capacity of the national economy and developing its own resources through openness to friendly countries with strong economy in order to take advantage of their experiences and expertise.
He voiced the government's keenness to activate cooperation relations with the BRICS countries and other friendly nations by expanding the horizons of bilateral cooperation to include various fields of economy.
The prime minister stressed that the government is following the people's need to secure the arrival of basic materials and oil derivatives.
Al-Halqi indicated that the efforts of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection to enhance the stability and availability of goods and the continuity of their flow into the market led to a remarkable decline in the prices of some goods to more than 40 percent.
He stressed that the stability of the Syrian pound as a result of the government's intervention has positively impacted the production process, which he said is also boosted by the military victory and the diplomatic success.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Association urged the government to tackle the high prices of oil derivatives, which are the basis for pricing a very large segment of commodities.
The association's president, Adnan Dakhakhny, told the pro- government al-Watan newspaper that the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Syrian pound should be consistent with a reduction in the prices of oil derivatives, which have become unbearable for consumers.
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At his first news conference of the New Year, Ban said "2014 will be crucial for the Millennium Development Goals as the 2015 deadline approaches fast" and advocated a post-2015 development agenda of "sustainable development goals and the financial means to make it happen." He looked to a September summit for an accord on climate change. Full story
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