Syrian President holds meeting with Russian President

Clay Curtis
May 18, 2018

Syrian President Bashar Assad made a surprise visit to Russian Federation to meet President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"Russian Federation welcomes this decision by the Syrian president and will be supporting it in every way, given the agreements reached during the Congress of the Syrian people held in Sochi several months ago", Putin said.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Assad informed Mr Putin of his decision to "send a delegation to the UN" to discuss reforming the country's constitution.

The Russian leader said the military successes have created suitable conditions for the resumption of the political process in Syria. Assad previously visited Russian Federation and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015.

Putin told Assad that "a lot has been done" at Russia-sponsored talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Kazakhstan.

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The Russian president said the terrorists have laid down their arms in key locations in Syria, allowing for the restoration of Syrian infrastructure.

The visit comes on the eve of a meeting in Sochi between Mr Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the first face-to-face talk of the year between the veteran leaders.

"The next task, of course, is the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Putin added. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Assad's government but also changed the course of the war.

"Stability is improving, and all this opens the door to the political process that we started some time ago. But with you and other partners and friends, we will continue to make strong progress in the peace process", Mr Assad was quoted as saying in the statement.

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