Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Syrian President Assad tells Putin: 'Door open to political process'

Syrian President Assad tells Putin: 'Door open to political process'

A transcript released by the Russian government claimed Mr Assad said the situation in Syria was becoming "more stable".

"Context of the meeting is in line with Prime Minister Modi's emphasis on wider engagements with various world leaders in addition to the formal state visits", the source said adding, "Prime Minister attaches importance in developing this means of (informal and personal rapport) diplomacy as a means of strengthening relationship".

The informal interaction has no specific agenda and is very flexible.

Since March, about 200,000 people were forced to relocate to other parts of the country as part of surrender deals after crippling sieges and bombardment by government forces, according to the United Nations, which says the practice amounts to forced displacement.

This will be an important occasion for the two leaders to exchange views on global matters in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective of further strengthening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), issued on May 14, read.

They said President Putin will be in India later this year for the annual summit during which key bilateral issues will be deliberated upon.

Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin traveled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there.

"There are plans to discuss key issues developing Russian-Indian very privileged strategic partnership and also to exchange views on vital issues of the global and regional agenda", the Russian news agency TASS reported citing, the Kremlin press service, as saying in a statement.

The two leaders will have a one-on-one interaction soon after Modi arrives in Sochi on the morning of 21 May.

It would be Modi's second informal summit in as many months as he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jingpin in China's Wuhan in a similar format last month.

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