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Putin meets Assad, calls for 'political process' on Syria

AFP  |  Sochi (Russia) 

Russian held a rare meeting with Syrian leader and said the "military success" in allowed for a large-scale "political process" leading to the withdrawal of foreign forces and the reconstruction of the country.

A day after UN special envoy to Staffan de Mistura warned a regime assault on the rebel-held area of Idlib could affect 2.3 million people, Putin yesterday met Assad in the southern Russian city of

"After the success of the Syrian army in the fight against the terrorists" the condition are in place for "the start of a political process on a major scale," Putin said in a statement released by the following the meeting.

told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of

"With the start of the political process in its most active phase, foreign armed forces will withdraw from Syrian territory," Putin said, without specifying which foreign forces.

has been involved in Syria's civil war since September 2015. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Assad's regime but also changed the course of the war.

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

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

The latest round of peace talks in the Kazakh capital wrapped up on Tuesday, but did not however make any concrete progress towards ending the seven-year conflict that has cost 350,000 lives.

Russia, and have been attempting to resolve the conflict in the talks that started last year in in competition with a US and UN-backed initiative.

In a statement from the Syrian presidency, Assad added yesterday "we have evaluated the political process" and will select candidates for a constitutional committee, a suggestion proposed in January at a summit in Sochi, that will work with the

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 05:05 IST
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