Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Syrian President Assad tells Putin: 'Door open to political process'

Narendra Modi Narendra Modi
Patty Aguilar | 18 May, 2018, 12:39

The leaders met in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Thursday, Russian news agency TASS reported.

A posting on the Syrian presidency's Facebook page said the two leaders consulted on various issues of mutual interest and the latest political and military developments in Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

Russian Federation has been concerned in Syria's civil warfare since September 2015.

[The Russian] president noted and congratulated Assad on the considerable success of the government forces in the fight against terrorist groups.

A transcript of the meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting "terrorism", which "opens the door to the political process".

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"The next task, of course, the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Mr Putin added. The UN has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress towards ending the conflict.

The U.S., meanwhile, has backed rebels and Kurdish forces that oppose Assad's rule.

Putin said that along with giving a boost to a political process, it is important "to take necessary steps towards rebuilding the Syrian economy, as well as settle long-pending hard, but pressing humanitarian issues".

"We know that will not be easy, since there are countries which do not want stability to return to Syria".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western attacks in the country removed any moral obstacle to arming Syria.

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