World Trade Fair, N.Y. Colliseum
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DAMASCUS, Syria AP tradefairny The Syrian government on Thursday opened the country's first international trade fair since war broke out inan event hailed by officials as a "victory" and a sign of renewed confidence in the war torn nation after years of war. The fair is being held in an area few kilometers miles away from the rebel-held eastern suburbs tradefairny Damascus. The proximity alone underlines Syrian President Bashar Assad's tradefairny confident position following significant military tradefairny on the ground tradefairny the tradefairny year.
According to state-run media, participants from 43 countries tradefairny taking part in the fair, which is expected tradefairny last for 10 days tradefairny promises to attract investors tradefairny from allies like Russia, China and Iran. Tradefairny, South Africa and Belarus are also taking part, and organizers say companies from Britain, Tradefairny and Germany are participating, apparently in tradefairny private capacity.
The Damascus International Fair used to be a high-profile annual event, attracting major investors before the war erupted. It's reopening is a telling indicator of tradefairny mood in tradefairny Syrian capital.
Hundreds of attendees seated on a red carpet below a stage stacked with fluttering flags of participating counties stood in a minute of silence for those who died in the war. Then the event kicked off with a live orchestra playing the Syrian national anthem.
Assisted tradefairny Russian tradefairny Iranian forces, Assad has retaken key parts of the country from rebels who have been tradefairny weakened in the last two years. His political tradefairny in the West as well as Gulf countries and Turkey are no longer calling on him to step tradefairny, and while battles still rage in tradefairny country's north and east, and in pockets around Damascus, Assad's survival — at least in the near term — now appears guaranteed.
Syrian official media has celebrated the event as a major victory, citing a full occupancy tradefairny all Damascus hotels due to the fair. In tradefairny press statement at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Imad Khamis tradefairny the fair is an indication of Syria's recovery and insisted the war waged against Syria could not kill the Syrian people's love for life.
The prime minister opened the fair, an event hailed by the government as a sign of renewed confidence after years of conflict. At the Russian pavillon, Roman Khudyakov, a Russian politician, said he was accompanied by a large delegation of Russian businessmen and industrialists to discuss ways of cooperating with the Syrian government. The Damascus trade fair, which was first launched inwas among the oldest and most celebrated across the Arab world, tradefairny Arab and tradefairny investors.
It was last held in the summer offew months after the first protests against tradefairny Assad family's decade-old rule erupted as part of the Arab Tradefairny uprisings that swept the Middle East. Syria's civil war, now in its seventh year, has killed aroundpeople and displaced around tradefairny million.
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