Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) has ratified the agreement with Syria on expanding the Russian naval supply facility in the Syrian port of Tartus.
The Russian president submitted the document to the Duma on December 13. According to the agreement, Russia has the right to have up to 11 warships deployed to the facility at the same time. Besides, the agreement stipulates that Russia will operate the naval facility. “Russia has the right to send the necessary number of troops to maintain the naval facility,” the document says.
Besides, the naval facility will have full immunity from Syria’s civil and administrative jurisdiction. Its movable and immovable property is immune from search, seizure and other proceedings. The troops deployed to the naval facility, as well as their family members, will enjoy immunity and privileges similar to those provided to diplomats.
Syria will be responsible for the protection of the naval facility, while Russia will ensure the security of the maritime borders and missile security.
The duration of the agreement is 49 years but it can be automatically prolonged for a period of 25 years in case none of the parties sends a written notification to the other at least one year before the period expires notifying about its plans to terminate the agreement.
“The ratification of the agreement is of strategic importance,” Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky said addressing the Duma’s plenary meeting. “The presence of a Russian naval facility on Syria’s territory is totally in line with the objectives of ensuring regional peace and stability, it is purely defensive and is not aimed against other countries,” he added.