Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
I am happy to see you in Russia. At the beginning of our meeting I would like to congratulate you on the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
I would also like to congratulate you on the major success of the Syrian Government Army in the struggle against terrorist units. Due to the efforts of your army recently, important steps have been made towards the further consolidation of the legitimate government. Terrorists have laid down arms in key areas of Syria, which made it possible to restore the country’s infrastructure, push them back and practically end their operations near the Syrian capital.
And, of course, after these military successes, additional conditions have certainly been created for the resumption of the full political process.
Much has been done during the Astana process. Much was accomplished at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. Now we can take further steps jointly with you. The next goal is, of course, economic recovery and humanitarian relief for the people who have found themselves in a predicament.
As you know, we are in contact with all sides of this complicated process, including the United Nations and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Staffan de Mistura.
I would like to discuss with you all of these areas of our joint work. Welcome!
Bashar al-Assad (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the start of your new term in office. I believe that this election success proves the correctness of your policy both domestically and internationally since the Russian people see that the positions of your country on the global stage are becoming stronger thanks to your actions.
And I am happy to meet with you in Sochi again after our meeting several months ago. A great many positive changes have occurred in between these two meetings. First of all, the fight against terrorism. The terrorist-controlled areas have decreased significantly. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been able to return to their homes in recent weeks, millions more Syrians are on the way.
Stability is improving, and this opens doors for the political process that we launched some time ago. I always said, and I will repeat it now, that we always enthusiastically support the political process that should unfold alongside the fight against terrorism.
We know that it is not going to be easy as there are countries that do not want stability in Syria. However, we will firmly move on with you and with our other partners on the issue of the peace process to achieve peace. Today’s meeting gives us a good opportunity to work out our joint positions for the coming period regarding the negotiating process in Astana and Sochi.
Thank you again, I would like to especially thank the Russian Armed Forces, particularly the Aerospace Forces, which have played a very important role in fighting terrorism.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.