Syrian, Russian Presidents hold surprise talks in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin where they discussed the political situation in Syria, international terrorism as well as issues of bilateral and humanitarian cooperation. The details about the meeting held on September 13 were published on the Russian leader’s website on Tuesday.
A transcript of Monday’s meeting released by the Kremlin said Putin congratulated Assad on his win in Syria's last May presidential election, where 56-year-old leader won another term in office with 95.1% of the votes.
"The [election] results show that people trust you and, despite all challenges of the previous years and tragedies of the previous years, still associate the process of recovery and return to normal life with you," Putin told Assad.
The Russian leader recalled that through the joint efforts the two countries managed to liberate the majority of Syrian territories from terrorists (as the Syrian government currently controls more than 90% of the country), while refugees actively return to liberated areas and people are rebuilding their homes. According to Putin, Assad is actively working to improve dialogue with his political opponents. The Russian leader voiced hope that this process would continue.
Putin slammed the presence of foreign troops in several regions in Syria without a UN decision or Assad’s permission as a problem as, he believes, it prevents the country from "undertaking best efforts for the country’s consolidation."
In turn, Assad underlined that political meetings and talks held in Sochi and Nur-Sultan had particularly facilitated the normalization in Syria. "I would like to highlight the fact that the political processes which we used to carry out stopped approximately three years ago. There are certain reasons behind it. There are some states who do everything possible to destructively affect the opportunity to organize political processes," the Syrian leader emphasized.
Putin and Assad previously spoke in November 2020 via videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parties then discussed the fight against terrorism and resettlement of refugees.
Putin last visited the country in January 2020. Moreover, the presidents also often speak on the phone.