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Assad says he is ready to abide by ceasefire agreements during conversation with Putin

The parties agreed that Astana talks on a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis would be crucial

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad have commended the Syrian ceasefire agreements brokered by Moscow and Ankara, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

"The Syrian leader expressed readiness to abide by these agreements," the statement reads.

"The parties agreed that Astana talks on a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis would be an important step aimed at settling the conflict," the Kremlin press service added.

Putin also held a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The parties welcomed the agreements on a ceasefire across Syria and the move towards political process, signed by the Syrian government and the opposition, which have been brokered by Russia and Turkey. 

The agreements on Syria

Earlier on Thursday, the Russian president announced that agreements had been reached on a ceasefire in Syria and readiness to start peace talks. According to Putin, three documents have been signed. The first document concerning the cessation of hostilities was signed by the Syrian government and the armed opposition. The second document is a package of measures to monitor the ceasefire, while the third one is a statement of readiness to start peace talks, the president noted.

Putin also agreed with the defense ministry’s proposal for reducing military presence in Syria.

"I agree with the Defense Ministry’s idea to cut out military presence in the Syrian Republic," the Russian leader said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Putin stated that Russia will "unconditionally continue to struggle against international terrorism and furnish support for the legitimate Syrian government in its war against terror."

"It goes without saying that we will stand by the agreements that have been achieved, including the development of the Russian military logistic facilities in Tartus and at the Hmeymim airbase," he said.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the militant groups joining the ceasefire agreement in Syria consisted of over 60,000 insurgents. "The most influential commanders of seven armed opposition groups have been taking part in the talks," he added.

Sergey Lavrov informed the Russia president that the three documents would be submitted to the UN Security Council. According to the minister, the process of settling the Syrian conflict, which has been initiated by Russia and Turkey with the assistance of Iran, was welcomed by outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres who is due to take the helm of the United Nations in January. "We have been informing our regional partners about what is being done by Russia, Turkey and Iran," Lavrov added.

European security and Syria crisis 

 By rendering support to Syria in the war against terrorism, Russia defends the security of Syrians and Russians and, on top of that, of European nations, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said.

SANA news agency said he had had a meeting with members of the upper house of Russian parliament and members of European parliament. The delegation was chaired by Konstantin Kosachov, the chairman of foreign policy committe in the upper house of Russia's Federal Assembly.