Syrian President Hafez al-Assad arrived in Budapest on Wednesday (29 November) at the start of a four day official visit to Hungary.
Syrian President Hafez al-Assad arrived in Budapest on Wednesday (29 November) at the start of a four day official visit to Hungary. He is leading a delegation which is reported to be seeking Hungarian support for the settlement of a new arms deal between the Soviet Union and Syria.
SYNOPSIS: The Syrian delegation included President Assad, Foreign Minister, Abdel-Halim Khaddam and Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohammed al-Imadi. they were greeted by Hungarian leader Janos Kadar, who came to power after the uprising of 1956. This was Mr. Assad's first visit to Hungary since he became President, after a coup eight years ago. Despite little notice of his arrival, large crowds were waiting at Ferighy airport.
In the afternoon President Assad visited the Heroes' Monument in Budapest, where soldiers laid a wreath on his behalf. Recent negotiations between Syria and the Soviet Union about future arms supplies have broken down. Informed sources in Beirut say the Soviet Union is reappraising arms sales to Syria and neighbouring Iraq in the light of their recent agreement to work towards full military union.
Diplomatic sources say that President Assad hopes to enlist the support of the Hungarian government, in his attempts to persuade the Soviet Union to grant Syria further military aid. Talks during the four-day visit are also expected to involve the present situation in the Middle East.