Putin and Assad meet in Sochi, promote Syrian peace process

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia May 17, 2018. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Russian city of Sochi, the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced on Thursday.

“Today in Sochi, President Putin held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Assad visited Sochi on a working visit,” Peskov told reporters.

According to the spokesman, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the Syrian president for his success in fighting terrorists.

“Terrorists have laid down weapons in key points in Syria, which has allowed Syria’s infrastructure to be restored and to push them [terrorists] back, practically halting their operations near the Syrian capital,” Putin said in the meeting with Assad.

Assad, in turn, expressed his readiness for a political resolution to the crisis in his country, adding that he has decided to send a delegation to the UN to form a constituent committee.

“Today’s meeting gives us a good opportunity to work on joint positions for the next period in the negotiation process in Astana and Sochi,” Assad said.

The Syrian leader also took the opportunity to thank Putin and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation “who have played a very important role in the fight against terrorism.”

Assad revealed in a presidential statement that “we have evaluated the political process” and announced that he will select candidates for a constitutional committee to work with the United Nations, a suggestion proposed in January at a summit in Sochi.

According to the Kremlin’s press release, Assad said that “stability is improving” in Syria, thus “opening the door to the political process we started some time ago.”

“We know it will not be easy because some countries do not want stability to return to Syria. But with you and other partners and friends, we will continue to make strong progress in the peace process,” Assad is quoted as saying.

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