SOCHI, November 21. /TASS/. On November 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
"On November 20, talks took place between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who made a working visit to Russia," the statement reads.
Putin also introduced Assad to the senior officials of the Russian Defense Ministry and the General Staff, who are currently in Sochi for a series of meetings on defense issues.
#Sochi: meeting with the leadership of the Defence Ministry and the defence sector https://t.co/0FWK9HBqMy pic.twitter.com/Nn4fJexDPQ— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) 20 November 2017
The two leaders agree that the military operation in Syria is coming to an end. The Russian and Syrian presidents also emphasized the need to launch political processes in the country:
"I believe that the problem of terrorism is universal, a lot should be done to achieve a complete victory over terrorism, but as far as our cooperation in the fight against terrorists in Syria goes, the military operation is really coming to an end," Putin said. "I think, now the main thing is to move to political processes, and I am pleased to see your readiness to work with everyone willing to establish peace and find solutions," the Russian leader added.
"Over this time, huge successes have been achieved, both on the battlefield an on the political level. Many areas in Syria have been liberated from terrorists, and civilians who were forced to leave those areas have been able to return," Assad pointed out.
"We must admit that the operation made it possible to advance the process of political settlement in Syria," he added.
Putin and his Syrian counterpart have discussed the major principles of the political process in Syria and preparations for a congress of the Syrian people.
"The day after tomorrow [on November 22], I plan to meet with my counterparts, the presidents of Turkey and Iran, here in Sochi. We had an agreement to hold additional consultations with you during a personal meeting. The main question concerns the political process that will be launched after terrorists are defeated, and is expected to help find a long-term solution to the Syrian crisis," Putin told Assad.
"I would very much like to discuss with you the major principles of launching a political process and preparations for a congress of the Syrian people, which you have welcomed. I would also like to hear your opinion about the current state of affairs and prospects for further developments, including your view of the political process, which, as we see it, should be sponsored by the United Nations. We expect the UN to actively participate in the process, particularly during its final stage," the Russian president pointed out.