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SOCHI, October 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he is convinced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready for dialogue with the opposition.
"The Syrian conflict was caused by not only the fight against militants and terrorist aggression, although it is evident and the terrorists just made use of difficulties in Syria. It is necessary to separate the terrorist threat from domestic political problems," Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
He said "the Syrian leadership should establish working contacts with those opposition forces that are ready for dialogue."
"As I understood from my conversation with President Assad the day before yesterday, he is ready for such a dialogue," Putin said.
According to the Russian leader, Bashar al-Assad during their talks in Moscow told him that he would be positive if the Russian Federation supported the armed opposition in Syria ready to fight terrorists.
"I asked him [Assad] what his attitude would be if we found in Syria even armed opposition that would be ready to really counter and fight terrorists, the ISIL [former name of Islamic State terrorist group], if we supported their efforts in the fight against terrorists like [we support] the Syrian army." According to the Russian leader, Assad replied he would be positive about it.
"We are thinking it over, and trying, if possible, to translate these agreements to practice," Putin added.
Putin stressed that terrorist groups cannot be classified as moderate and not moderate.
He said that the terrorist organization Islamic State had gained control of vast territories and should they capture Damascus or Baghdad, it might in fact contest the status of official authorities.
"The international community must realize at last what we are confronted with - the enemy of civilization, of humanity and of world culture," Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
"It is wrong to juggle with words and say some terrorists are moderate and others not moderate," Putin said.
Putin also pointed out he hoped the United States would not hand man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to the Syrian opposition.
There will be no expansion of the Russian Armed Forces operations to the territory of Iraq, the president noted.
"No, there are no such plans and there can’t be, as the Iraqi government has not asked us for assistance," Putin told the meeting.
"We hope coordinated actions of our strike aviation and other destruction facilities coordinated with operations of the Syrian Armed Forces will bring about encouraging results," he said.
"I think and our military share my opinion a result is already there," he said. "Is it sufficient for suppressing terrorism in Syria. No."
"More serious efforts are needed to affirm this claim and more joint work I'm stressing the word 'joint' is required," Putin said.
According to the president, the division of Syria would lead to expansion of the current conflict and will make it endless.
"The division of Syria, I think is it the worst variant, an unacceptable one," Putin said.
Putin said the aim of the Russian anti-terror operation in Syria was to establish peace and deliver a pre-emptive strike at terrorists.
"We decided to start a Russian military operation in that country after receiving a request from the official Syrian authorities. I would like to re-emphasize that it is absolutely legitimate. Its single purpose is to contribute to establishing peace," the president said.
"The actions of the Russian military will produce the necessary positive impact on the situation and will help the official government to create conditions for subsequent actions in the sphere of political settlement," Putin stressed.
"The anti-terror operation in Syria will help Moscow to deliver a pre-emptive strike at terrorists, who are also threatening Russia, and help all countries and peoples, who will certainly be in danger if these terrorists return to their homes," the president assumed.
Putin stressed that the United States wanted to get rid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Russia is trying to defeat terrorism in Syria.
"The United States has an aim to get rid of President al-Assad. It must be true. Our aim is to defeat terrorism; fight terror and help President (Bashar) al-Assad to gain victory over terror," Putin told a session of the Valdai discussion club.
Putin voiced the hope for reaching international political agreements on Syria on the background of incipient contacts with between the Russian and Western military.
"Thank God we've begun to reach agreements at the military level, that's something life itself is bringing up," Putin said. "And I hope if military people manage to strike accords with one another, and they are the most responsible people in all appearance, then some kind of agreements can be reached at the political level, too."
He pointed once again to the reluctance of Western partners to assist the Russian Aerospace Force in fighting with the Islamic State on the Syrian territory.
"We're being criticized for striking allegedly at the wrong targets but will you please tell us what the correct targets are if you know them?" Putin asked. "But they don't tell us anything. Well, please tell us the targets we shouldn't strike at. But once again, they don't tell us anything.".
Coordination of activities with the United States in Syria is proceeding in the right direction but not as fast as Moscow would like it to, the Russian leader said.
"Now Syrian problems are discussed in the UN and other international organizations, within the framework of interstate relations," Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
"We have so far failed to always achieve understanding. It is painfully hard to abandon might-have-been expectations and unjustified calculations. But still there is progress. We see contacts between military departments being gradually arranged within the framework of the antiterrorism operation, although not as actively and fast as we would like them to," he said.
The president is sure that after the victory is won over terrorism in Syria there should be political settlement involving all the sound forces.
"Just the military victory over gunmen will not solve all the problems, but it will create conditions for the key thing - launching political process with participation of all the sound and patriotically minded forces of the Syrian society," Putin said.
"Syrians should themselves decide their fate with the exclusively correct and respective assistance of the international community," Putin said.
Putin noted that Syria may require large-scale economic and financial aid for restoration after war, and it is necessary to establish the format of involving donor countries and international institutions.
"It is obvious that Syria will require large-scale financial, economic, humanitarian aid to heal its wounds after the war. We need to define a format, in the framework of which we could conduct this work with involving donor countries and international financial institutions," Putin said.
The Russian president noted that it is important to develop roadmaps on economic and social revival of the region, restoration of basic infrastructure - residential houses, hospitals and schools. "Only such creative work on the spot after elimination of terrorism and after political settlement can stop the enormous flow of refugees to European countries and return to the homeland those who has already left," Putin added.
Vladimir Putin said he is convinced the United States deceived the Russian Federation and the entire world speaking of Iran’s alleged nuclear threat.
"The first tests of US missile defense in Europe have been conducted. What does that mean? It means that when we were arguing with our American partners, we were right," Putin said.
"These were regular attempts to mislead us and the entire world, or, in simper terms, to deceive us," he said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
Putin said "the issue is not about a hypothetical nuclear threat, which never existed, the issue is about an attempt to destroy the strategic balance, change the balance of forces in its favor so as to not only dominate but also be able to dictate its will to everyone - its geopolitical rivals ad allies as well."
"It’s an extremely dangerous scenario of events, harmful to everyone, including, in my view, the United States itself," the Russian leader said. He explained that "the deterrent of nuclear weapons has started to devaluate; some even had the illusion that in the global conflict, a real victory of one of the sides is achievable again without irreversible, unacceptable, as specialists say, consequences for the winner, if there is one."
Putin underscored that "the threshold of the use of force has clearly gone down over the past 25 years."
Iran says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity, but Western powers led by the United States claimed Tehran's eventual aim is to create nuclear weapons.
Vladimir Putin is sure that forming economic blocs through establishing dominance of the strongest player will not make the world safer.
"The process of forming these structures [economic blocs] is ongoing nearly to the rules of conspiration," Putin said at the session of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
"The goal is clear - to reformat the global economy to derive greater revenue from its dominance and spread its standards of economic, trade and technical regulation," he said.
"Forming economic blocs by imposing conditions by the strongest player will not make the world safer, of course," Putin said. The president said this will only "plant a delayed action mine, a ground for future conflicts."
Despite the current problems, the World Trade Organization (WTO) needs to search for compromise as only this "can establish long-term system of relations," he said.
While forming the Eurasian Economic Union, Russia attempts to "build relations with its partners and organize work as part of the Chinese initiative of the Silk Road." "We actively and absolutely on an equal basis work as part of BRICS, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and G20."
According to the Russian president, countries declaring trade wars to suit their petty economic interests treat others like vassals, not equals.
"Let me ask if this is a true way to treat allies," he said. "No, that's a way to treat the vassals who have dared to act of their own accord and are hence getting punishment for misbehavior," he said.
The president said a number of countries that used to declare their commitment to freedom of speech have been undemocratic in a bid to stop the spread of information different from their point of view.
According to Putin, the global information space is being torn by its own "wars". "The only right point of view and interpretation of events are being aggressively imposed; certain facts are being stacked and hushed up. All of us have got accustomed to the practice of labeling and creation of an enemy image," Putin said.
"The authorities of countries which have appealed to the values of freedom of speech and free dissemination of information - we heard so much of it in the old days - are now putting up barriers to spreading objective information and any alternative point of view calling it enemy propaganda, which should be fought against by using openly undemocratic means," the Russian leader explained.
The Russian president has also warned against uncontrolled competition by states, which may prove disastrous for the whole world and trigger another spiral of the arms race.
He said that "all states will always have their own, sometimes multi-vectored interests, and world history is a history of competition by states and their alliances."
"To my mind this is absolutely natural. It is most important to ensure such competition should stay within certain political, legal and moral bounds. Otherwise rivalry and clashes of interests will be fraught with acute crises and dramatic disruptions," Putin said.
Putin recalled that "attempts to push ahead with the unilateral domination model at any cost have thrown the system of international law and global control off balance."
"That means that there is a risk that competition - political, economic and military - may go out of control," he said.
For the sphere of international security this uncontrolled competition may spell an upsurge in local conflicts, in particular, in border regions, where the interests of major powers and blocks clash.
"Also, this may bring about a decline of the WMD non-proliferation system, which I see as very dangerous. As a result there would follow another spiral of the arms race," Putin said.