The level of Greek-Syrian relations is very satisfactory. Greece has an embassy in Damascus and Syria has an embassy in Athens.
II. Political relations
Greeces bilateral relations with Syria are a very good, based on the existing long-standing friendship between the two countries, as confirmed by high-level state visits, such as the visit of President Assad to Athens (15-17.12.2003) and the visit of the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Stefanopoulos to Syria (2-4.02.02). The visits of Tourism Minister Mr. Avramopoulos and the former Mayor of Athens, Ms. Dora Bakoyannis to Syria in 2004, and of Syrias Foreign Minister Mr. Farouk al-Sharaa to Greece n May 2005 are also worth noting. Mr. al-Sharaa became vice-president of the Republic of Syria in February 2006. Syrias president and prime minister have addressed invitations to their Greek counterparts to carry out state visits to their country. Finance and Trade Minister Mr. Amer Husni Lutfi also visited Athens, in September 2006, heading a large business delegation in view of its participation to the 1st Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum. There is a very good cooperation between our country and Syria within international organisations. An indicative example is the reciprocal candidacy support within the UN (Syria supported our candidacy to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the period 2005-2006).
III. Contractual framework Major Interstate Agreements
- Agreement of judicial assistance on civil and penal matters (Athens, 02/06/1981). Ratified under Law 1450/1984 (Government Gazette 87//16.6.1984). Entry into force 5/4/1985.
- Long-term trade agreement (Athens, 27/05/1969). Ratified under .. 963/1971 (Government Gazette 207//21.10.1971). Entry into force: 24/04/1973.
- Agreement for the protection and promotion of investments (Damascus, 23/02/2003). Ratified under Law 3210/2003 (Government Gazette 305//24.12.2003). Entry into force: 27/2/2004.
- Scientific and technological cooperation agreement (Athens, 21/07/1979). Ratified under Law 1451/1984 (Government Gazette 87//16.6.1984). Entry into force: 23/01/1988.
- Protocol of the 6th Interministerial Joint Committee on financial, scientific and technological (Damascus, 23/02/2003). Ratified under Ministerial Decision 23.11.2004, (Government Gazette 232// 30.11.2004).
- Social insurance agreement (Athens, 2/11/2000). Ratified under Law 2922/2002 (Government Gazette 135//27.6.2001). Entry into force: 01/03/2002.
- Cultural agreement (Damascus, 24/02/1977). Ratified under Law 885/1979 (Government Gazette 61//24.2.1977). Entry into force 19/212/1979.
- Sea transport agreement (Damascus, 28/05/2001). Ratified under Law 2994/2002 (Government Gazette 60//28.3.2002). Entry into force: 20/12/2002.
- Agreement on international road transport of passengers and merchandise (Damascus, 24/03/2001). Ratified under Law 2995/2002 (Government Gazette 61//28.3.2002). Entry into force 3/12/2002
- Protocol of cooperation between the Greek Transport Ministry and the Syrian Communication Ministry in the fields of post offices and telecommunications (Damascus, 24/03/2001). Ratified under Law 3076/2002 (Government Gazette 308//10.12.2002).
- Protocol for the creation of joint enterprises (Damascus, 10/11/1984). Ratified under Law 1773/1988 (Government Gazette 92//18.5.1988). Provisional entry into force since its signing.
- Tourist cooperation agreement (Damascus, 22/02/2003). . 3256/2004. Government Gazette 139. Entry into force: 10/08/2004
- Cooperation agreement in the field of public health (Damascus, 5/1/1995). Ratified under Law 2363/1995 (Government Gazette 251//6.12.1995). Entry into force: 19/02/1996.
IV. Economic and Trade Relations
The volume of bilateral trade fell by 49.3% in 2007, amounting to 91.3 million euros compared to 180.2 million in 2006. As a result, the 2007 trade balance between our two countries still presented a surplus for Greece (40.1 million euros), but it was much lower (-102.3 million euros) compared to 2006 (142.4 million euros).
V.Greek-Syrian cultural relations
Greek-Syrian cultural relations are governed by the Cultural agreement signed in Damascus on 24.02.1977 and implemented by three-year implementation programmes.
The latest cultural programme was signed in Damascus on 02.03.2005 for the period 2005-2007 and providing for cooperation and exchanges in the fields of science, education, archives and libraries, culture and arts, mass media, sports and youth.
Regarding Greek language teaching in Syria, the Faculty of History of the University of Damascus offers a course on Greek history and Greek culture.
Scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies are offered by both countries, and there are also Greek language and Arab language courses.
VI. The Greek community
There are about 1,500 people of Greek descent, most of whom have Syrian nationality, and live mainly in Aleppo Syrias main trade and financial centre and Damascus.
Damascus has a small organised Greek community (150 members) since 1913 and participates in the proceedings of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad.
There are no for Greek studies at Syrian universities. The Greek language is taught as an optional course by a teacher, detached by the Ministry of National Education and Religion, at the offices of the Greek Communitys Cultural Centre.
A small number of Greeks also live in Latakia, Tartus and Hims.
VII. Embassy details
Last Modified: December 2008