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Withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria may take long time, Russian expert says

May 21, 2018, 18:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A complex diplomatic process is underway and Russia is playing a very serious role in it, the expert pointed out

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MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. The process of withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria amid political settlement will take a long time, a Russian expert said on Monday at the presentation of the Valdai Discussion Club report titled "Russia in the Middle East: The Polyphonic Harmony."

According to Vitaly Naumkin, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, Syria’s President Bashar Assad has always been resolutely against the presence of foreign forces in his country, which were not invited by the Syrian government, unlike Russia.

"A complex diplomatic process is underway and Russia is playing a very serious role in it," the expert said. "I think the project Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken about that envisages the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syrian in the process of political settlement will take a long time."

"One should not think that as soon as a decision is take everyone rushes to pack things, take a helicopter and leave," Naumkin noted. "I think it is going to be a long process."

At the same time, the expert drew attention to the fact that Moscow is now shifting from the military to two other tracks in Syria. "On the one hand, it is political settlement stemming from the growing support to both the Geneva and Astana processes and a possibility of another round in Sochi (of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress - TASS)," he said. "On the other hand, it is Syria’s economic revival and we badly need partners as no country can be able to revive this severely hit country to ensure refugee return, create jobs and restore infrastructure. The parties should be ready to invest in Syria."

"I think it will be a difficult process but it is of paramount importance," Naumkin stressed.

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