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Russian President hosts Syria’s Assad in Sochi

21st Nov 2017
Russian President hosts Syria’s Assad in Sochi

By Diyar Guldogan

(AA): Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syria’s Bashar al-Assad on Monday in Russia’s coastal city of Sochi, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Putin and Assad discussed the political settlement in Syria, according to the Kremlin’s statement.

Assad’s visit came two days ahead of trilateral meeting between the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will gather on Wednesday in Sochi to discuss the Syrian settlement process, particularly the joint work from the Astana talks.

The meeting would also bring together Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, Russia’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov and their Iranian counterpart Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri.

“I very much would like to discuss with you the basic principles of launching a political process and preparations for the Congress of the Syrian people, supported by you,” Putin said, according to the Kremlin.

Putin took Assad’s assessments regarding Syria’s political process that was carried out under the auspices of the UN.

He hailed the Astana talks and said: “Thanks to the Astana process, we managed to create de-escalation zones, and this, in turn, allowed us to begin a real in-depth dialogue with the opposition for the first time.”

Russia and Turkey, together with Iran, are the guarantor countries which brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana, Kazakhstan talks, which ran parallel to UN-backed discussions in Geneva to find a political solution to the six-year war.

Assad said Russia contributed to the political settlement in Syria within the framework of the UN Charter and respecting the country’s sovereignty.

He also said Syria was ready to conduct a dialogue with those who are interested in a political settlement in the country.

Assad added Syria counted on Russia’s support to ensure that “external actors do not interfere in the political process”.

Putin also introduced Assad to the officials of Russian Defense Ministry and General Staff of the Armed Forces, according to the Kremlin.

[Photo:  Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) in Sochi, Russia on November 21, 2017. Photographer: Kremlin Press Office / Handout/AA]

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

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