Sushma Swaraj meets Syrian counterpart

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday met Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Al Moualem and discussed issues of bilateral interest.

“Emphasising engagement. EAM @SushamSwaraj meets Syrian Dy PM & FM, Walid Al Moualem for bilateral discussion,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a picture of the two leaders.

Al Moualem, who arrived in India on Monday on a three-day visit, is also expected to meet other Indian leaders.

The visit assumes importance in view of fresh initiatives taken by the UN to bring about peace in war-torn Syria, where more than 300,000 people have been killed in the past four years and seven million have fled to other countries.

European nations have also witnessed a huge influx of Syrian refugees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Moscow last month, held detailed talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the growing threat of the Islamic State terrorist group and the Syrian crisis.

Since the Paris terror attack, many Western nations have directly or indirectly established contact with the Syrian government to counter the activities of the Islamic State.

Buthina Shaban, special advisor to the Syrian president, had visited India in March 2013.