As­sad makes trip to meet with Putin

Tampa Bay Times - - Nation & World -

Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad made a sur­prise visit to Russia to meet Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Thurs­day at his sum­mer res­i­dence in the Black Sea re­sort of Sochi. A tran­script of Thurs­day’s meet­ing re­leased by the Krem­lin quoted As­sad as say­ing that Syria is mak­ing progress in fight­ing “ter­ror­ism,” which “opens the door to the po­lit­i­cal pro- cess.” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said As­sad in­formed the Rus­sian leader of his de­ci­sion to “send a del­e­ga­tion to the U.N.” to dis­cuss re­form­ing the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion. The U.N. has hosted sev­eral rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress to­ward end­ing the con­flict. A post­ing on the Syr­ian pres­i­dency’s Face­book page said the two lead­ers con­sulted on var­i­ous is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est and the lat­est po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary de­vel­op­ments in Syria. It said As­sad con­firmed he will send a list of can­di­date names as soon as pos­si­ble to the United Na­tions, for mem­ber­ship in a com­mit­tee that would dis­cuss the con­sti­tu­tion. It said that Russia wel­comes and sup­ports this de­ci­sion based on agree­ments reached in na­tional di­a­logue meet­ings in Sochi. It said the two also dis­cussed eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and grow­ing in­vest­ments by Rus­sian com­pa­nies in Syria.

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