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SOCHI, October 21 /TASS/. A visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Moscow shows that Russia has managed to stabilize the situation in Syria making it possible for Damascus to discuss the post-war setup of the Syrian state, Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies, told TASS on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 2015 Valdai International Discussion Club which is meeting in Sochi.
"This visit is symbolic. It shows that Russia has managed to radically stabilize the situation and succeed in what its western partners have failed to achieve over their yearlong military operation," Naumkin said adding it was the first foreign trip by the Syrian president since 2011.
"It shows that we can afford doing that and that we are working with the legitimate government rather than with some groups, which do not represent anybody," the Russian expert went on to say.
He said the agenda of the Russian-Syrian talks, which took place in the Kremlin earlier on Wednesday, included a wide range of issues linked to counteraction to terrorism and the political process in Syria.
"Naturally, a vision of Syria’s future and the international situation in the light of the Syrian crisis were supposed to be part of agenda. A very important question today is what other countries, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are really supporting the opposition groups that are waging the war in Syria, are going to do under these circumstances," the Russian expert stressed.
"If the Syrian territory is cleared of terrorists — hopefully, the operation is going to be successful - we will demonstrate to the whole world that we can do it. The next question is how this territory should be run and restored and how a possibility to decide their own future should be guaranteed to the Syrian people. The question of Russia’s role in this process is very important. It’s clear that this role is great," Naumkin stressed.
Speaking about concrete ways of the Syrian settlement, Naumkin said that now that Russia’s military operation had made Damascus much more confident, an opportunity emerged to establish contacts with the Free Syrian Army for joint struggle against terrorists. "Russia could act as an intermediary or even a guarantor in this dialogue," the Russian expert stressed.