Assad in Sochi offers constitutional amendments to end conflict

18 May, 2018, 15:52 | Author: Bert Pena
  • RTS1RYAN

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew to Russian leader Vladimir Putin's summer residence on the Black Sea for talks on Thursday about the Syrian conflict, the Kremlin said, a visit that underscored Moscow's status as Assad's chief backer.

"With the start of a political process in its more active phase, foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic", Mr. Putin said.

The two leaders discussed the need to strengthen the work on rendering of humanitarian aid to Syrians and economistsview Syria.

Syria has been embroiled in a complicated, multi-sided civil war involving foreign powers, rebels and jihadists.

Observers believed Assad's visit to Sochi proved the support provided from Moscow to the Syrian regime, and deemed a Russian attempt to stop the military escalation between Damascus and Tel Aviv.

Putin also congratulated Assad on the "successes of the Syrian government's army in the fight against terrorist groups".

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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 toward ending the conflict.

According to the Kremlin statement, Assad said "stability is improving" in Syria, "opening the door to the political process we started some time ago".

"We know that will not be easy since there are countries which do not want stability to return to Syria". He thanked the Russian military for playing an important role in the fight.

A posting on the Syrian presidency's Facebook page said Assad and Putin also discussed economic cooperation and growing investments by Russian companies in Syria.

Sources said the two leaders will meet for around four to six hours for the "agendaless" talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.

Syria's conflict began with mass protests against the Assad family's decades-long rule.

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