President Bashar al-Assad, during a work visit he paid to Russia on Tuesday, held a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi City in presence of senior Russian political and military officials.
President Putin congratulated President al-Assad on the successes achieved by Syria in the framework of combating terrorism, and on approaching victory over terrorism by the Syrian people.
Putin underlined the importance of the timing of the visit in increasing coordination between the two sides, holding additional consultations, and listening to the assessment of the Syrian leadership on the situation in Syria and on the shape of the next steps as well as its vision on the political process and the role of the UN in it before the summit during which he will meet his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Sochi, Russia.
For his part, President al-Assad thanked President Putin for the warm welcome, saying that this meeting comes after two years and few weeks from launching the Russian military operation which supports the Syrian Arab Army in its war against terrorism and which has made significant achievements on different levels, on top, the humanitarian, military and political levels.
President al-Assad indicated that the victories achieved against terrorism led to the return of security to many areas and subsequently, citizens returned to them and the wheel of normal life began to move again, in addition to pushing the political track forwards to find solution to the crisis in Syria.
President al-Assad clarified that the Russian policy has been active on different axes and all of them are important, particularly through affirming the necessity of the UN adherence to its Charter which asserts the sovereignty of the states and the noninterference in their internal affairs and the right of the nations to decide their destiny.
He underlined the importance of this meeting to coordinate on the highest levels between the two sides on different issues which the two countries are interested in including the continuation of combating terrorism, the exerted efforts with regard to the political track, the national dialogue congress and the next tripartite summit in Sochi.
For his part, Putin said that Russia is working with all parties for ending the crisis and finding a political solution in Syria, the issue which constitutes a basic interest for all, adding that this visit is an important opportunity for coordination on the basic principles of organizing the political process, and the issue of the national dialogue congress which Syria has supported.
The two presidents also discussed the current preparations for holding the National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in Russia, as President al-Assad thanked President Putin and the Russian leaderships for the efforts they exerted in this framework, affirming that Syria supports any political work, particularly after the decline of terrorism and that all doors are open locally and internationally to support this track “therefore, we hope that Russia will always succeed in what it says and does…to succeed in convincing the others to not interfere in any political solution, and to only support it from abroad without any interference.”
President al-Assad asserted that what is important today is to stop the bloodshed, and that Syria is ready to work with any country which ready to contribute to the political solution as long as it is based on the Syrian sovereignty and the Syrian decision.
In turn, President Putin expressed Russia’s high appreciation for the readiness expressed by the Syrian Government and its openness on whoever wants peace and for the support provided by President al-Assad to Astana process in which the participants succeeded in establishing de-escalation zones and starting dialogue with all the Syrian parties.
Putin indicated that based on this meeting, he will hold consultations with the presidents who will come to Sochi and that there will be contacts with leaders of several countries “including the US President.”
President al-Assad conveyed thanks by the Syrian people to President Putin and the friendly and loyal Russian people for what Russia has done to protect the Syrians in face of terrorism, and to protect the unity of the Syrian territories, in addition to what the Russian institutions have done to support the Syrian people in all domains, particularly the military institution which has made a lot of sacrifices to protect the sovereignty and independence of Syria and its territorial integrity.
Talks during the meeting also highlighted the importance of continuing to fight terrorism represented in Daesh (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra and the groups affiliated to them.
The two presidents met a group of senior Russian officers who participated in supporting the Syrian Arab Army in its war against terrorism, as President al-Assad underlined the importance of the role played by the Russian Armed Forces in the war against terrorism as Russian military personnel were martyred and the Russian Forces have exerted huge efforts in the battles against terrorism in Syria, indicating that the whole world is watching the significant outcomes achieved on this level thanks to the sacrifices by the Syrian forces and the Russian forces and by Syria’s allies.
The meeting was attended by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Assistant to Russian President Yuri Ushakov, Russian President’s Special Envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, and Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Vershinin.