Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | ePaper

Putin, Assad for political solution to Syria`s conflict

  • Print


Russian President Vladimir Putin shaking hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on Monday.

Reuters, Moscow  :
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to talk about the need to move from military operations to the search for a political solution to Syria's conflict, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.Russia is actively trying to build an international consensus around a peace deal for Syria, over two years after Moscow began a military intervention that turned the tide of the conflict in Assad's favor.
On Wednesday, Putin is to meet the leaders of Iran and Turkey, two other powers with major stakes in the Syrian conflict. He said he would follow up his talks with Assad with phone calls to U.S. President Donald Trump and to Middle Eastern leaders.
"We still have a long way to go before we achieve a complete victory over terrorists. But as far as our joint work in fighting terrorism on the territory of Syria is concerned, this military operation is indeed wrapping up," Putin told Assad, in comments broadcast by Russian television.
"Now the most important thing, of course, is to move on to the political questions, and I note with satisfaction your readiness to work with all those who want peace and a solution (to the conflict)," Putin said.
The meeting, according to the Kremlin, happened on Monday evening in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Putin has a residence. However, the Kremlin did not release information about Assad's visit until Tuesday.
 "I would like very much to discuss with you the main principles for organizing the political process, and the holding of a congress of the peoples of Syria, that is supported by you," Putin told Assad.
"I would like to hear from you your assessment of the state of affairs today, and the prospects for the developments of the situation, including your view of the political process, which, in our view, must ultimately be carried out under the aegis of the United Nations."
Putin and Assad last met on Oct. 20, 2015, in Moscow, a few weeks after Moscow launched its military operation in Syria, which has beaten back anti-Assad rebels and propped up struggling government forces.
For Monday's meeting in Sochi, Assad stayed on Russian soil for a total of four hours, RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
Assad, wearing a dark suit and sitting across a small coffee table from Putin, told the Russian leader: "At this stage, especially after we achieved victory over terrorists, it is in our interests to move forward with the political process.
"And we believe that the situation we now have on the ground and in the political sense permits us to expect progress in the political process. We count on the support of Russia to ensure the non-interference of outside players in the political process," said Assad, speaking through an interpreter.
Underscoring the importance of the Russian military in propping up Assad's rule, Putin presented the Syrian leader to a gathering of his top military command, who were also assembled at his Sochi residence.
"On behalf of the entire Syrian people, I express my gratitude for what you have done," Assad told the roomful of Russian military officers. "We will not forget it."
Assad's opponents, and Western governments, have accused Russia of killing significant numbers of Syrian civilians with its air strikes, allegations Moscow denies.
Putin praised Assad for "fighting terrorism," which he predicted would suffer an "inevitable" defeat in Syria, the Kremlin said.
"It is in our interest to advance the political process... we don't want to look back and we are ready for dialogue with all those who want to come up with a political settlement," Assad said in translated comments.
Putin said he would "consult" world leaders, including US president Donald Trump, on his talks with Assad. Putin's telephone talks with Trump are due on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.
On Wednesday, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet for the first of a series of summits to bring peace in Syria, where regime forces now have an upper hand over rebels and the Islamic State group.
Putin will host Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Hassan Rouhani in Sochi ahead of parallel UN-led talks in Geneva set for November 28.
The meeting-the first such three-way summit between the trio-comes as Ankara, Moscow and Tehran cooperate with increasing intensity on ending the over six-year civil war in Syria that has left 330,000 dead and millions homeless.
The cooperation comes despite Turkey still officially being on an opposite side of the Syria conflict from Russia and Iran, which are key Assad backers.
Turkey has supported rebels seeking Assad's ouster but has muted its criticism of the Syrian regime.
 

More News For this Category

FBI agents on Russia probe called  Trump

FBI agents on Russia probe called Trump "Idiot": Reports

AFP, Washington :A senior FBI agent removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe this year referred to Donald Trump before his election as an "idiot," in emails turned

US embassy unlikely to move to Jerusalem before 2020: Tillerson

US embassy unlikely to move to Jerusalem before 2020: Tillerson

Xinhua, Washington :U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the U.S. embassy in Israel was unlikely to be moved to Jerusalem before 2020, national media outlets reported."It's not

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones wins US Senate race, blow to Trump

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones wins US Senate race, blow to Trump

AFP, Montgomery : Democrat Doug Jones scored a stunning upset victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, defeating a controversial Donald Trump-backed Republican who failed

Under Putin, Russia increases clout in the Middle East

Under Putin, Russia increases clout in the Middle East

AP, Moscow : When Russia launched a military campaign in Syria two years ago, President Vladimir Putin sought to save his ally from imminent collapse and break Russia's international isolation

News In Brief

May faces parliamentary showdown with Brexit rebelsReuters, LondonPrime Minister Theresa May's control of the Brexit process will undergo its stiffest parliamentary test yet on Wednesday, when she faces a

Kim vows 'victory in showdown' with US

Kim vows 'victory in showdown' with US

AFP, Seoul :North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to "win victory in the showdown" against the US with his rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, state media said Wednesday, after the

On eve of climate summit, Macron reminds Trump of `responsibility to history`

On eve of climate summit, Macron reminds Trump of `responsibility to history`

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday reminded his US counterpart Donald Trump of his responsibility to history over his decision to quit the Paris climate change agreement, in an interview

EU tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump's Jerusalem move

EU tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump's Jerusalem move

Reuters, Brussels :Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case to Europe to ask allies to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but met a firm rebuff

Mugabe flies to Singapore, first trip since ouster

Mugabe flies to Singapore, first trip since ouster

Reuters, Harare :Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe has left the country for medical checks in Singapore, his first foreign travel since the army forced him from office last month, a

Women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct seek congressional probe

Women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct seek congressional probe

Reuters, New York :Three women who have accused US President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct called on Monday for a congressional investigation into his behaviour amid a wave of similar