Putin and Assad ask to resume dialogue in Syria


Sochi, Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian ally Bashar al Assad on Thursday called for the resumption of “political dialogue” in Syria to end the conflict and allow “the withdrawal of foreign armed forces”, in an unusual meeting in the Russian city of Sochi
“With the beginning of the political process in its most active phase, the foreign armed forces will withdraw from Syrian territory,” Putin was quoted as saying in a Kremlin statement.
The two leaders met in the southern Russian city and held “fairly comprehensive talks,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said.
The last time the two presidents met was on December 11 at the Russian base of Hmeimim in Syria, the spokesman said.
The Russian television transmitted some planes of the meeting between both leaders.
Putin congratulated Asad on “the successes of the Syrian government army in the fight against terrorist groups” that allowed “to create additional conditions in favor of an activation of the political process on a large scale,” according to a statement from the Kremlin.
The Russian military intervention, which began in September 2015, allowed the Syrian army to regain a large part of the territories it had lost since the popular uprising of 2011, which quickly became a chaotic civil war in which numerous rebel groups fell , jihadists and minorities like the Kurds, as well as regional actors.
“The next task, of course, is economic recovery and humanitarian aid to people in difficult situations,” the Russian president added.
Asad estimated that “stability improves” in Syria, which opens “the door to the political process that we have started a long time ago” according to his statements reproduced by the Kremlin.
“We know it will not be easy because some countries do not want stability to return to Syria, but with you and some other partners and friends, we will continue to move forward firmly in the peace process,” he added.
According to the Kremlin, Bashar Al Asad decided after this meeting to elect emissaries for the “formation of a Constitutional Committee that should work on the fundamental law in Syria”, for which “they will be sent to the UN”.
The Syrian president also welcomed the “increase in Russian investments in recent years” in his country at war.
Putin must meet Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his first personal meeting since a year ago.


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