Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Putin meets with Assad, declares Syria ready for 'political process'

Putin meets with Assad, declares Syria ready for 'political process'

Syrian President Bashar Assad has flown to Russian Federation to meet Vladimir Putin at his summer residence.

A day after United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura warned that a government assault on the rebel-held area of Idlib could affect 2.3 million people, Putin met Assad in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

The warships will remain on "permanent standby" to counter the "remaining terrorist threat in Syria", Russian state media quoted Putin as saying during a gathering of military and defense industry leaders at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

The two presidents last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia. "I have always said, and now I repeat once again, that we always enthusiastically support the political process, which should go hand in hand with the fight against terrorism", Assad said.

"The next task, of course, is the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Putin added.

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Russian Federation has been a crucial ally of the Syrian regime throughout the Middle Eastern country's seven-year civil. The U.N. has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress toward ending the conflict.

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

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 two leaders emphasized the importance of creating conditions for a political solution to the conflict in Syria, he also said.

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