Syria’s President Basher al-Assad meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in a surprise trip to Sochi resort on May 17, 2018 - Press Photo
CAIRO - 18 May 2018: In his first foreign trip after the U.S.-led strike on Syria last April, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to Russia where he met with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi resort city on Thursday.
Assad tackled bilateral relations with his Russian counterpart, in addition to the recent developments in the Syrian issue, according to a statement issued by the Syrian Presidency Office on Thursday.
For its part, Russia’s Kremlin manifested that Assad had expressed his willingness to Putin to start a political compromise to solve the Syrian issue, following a meeting with Russian defense and foreign ministers.
“I’m glad to receive you in Russia. Happy Ramadan!” Putin told Assad in Sochi.
President Bashar al-Assad meets with his Russian counterpart and Russia’s ministers of defense and foreign affairs in Sochi on May 17, 2018 - Press Photo
Putin hailed the Syrian army’s victories over militants in Syria, stressing that Syrian soldiers have achieved significant progress recently in boosting the legitimate authority of the Syrian regime. “Threatening the capital city of Damascus is over. It’s the right time to rebuild the country’s infrastructure,” Putin added.
"Stability is improving, and all that opens the doors to the political process, which we started a while ago," Assad told Russian President Vladimir Putin according to the Kremlin’s statement.
Assad congratulated his Russian counterpart for the landslide win of his second consecutive term in office with 77 percent of the vote on March 18. “Russia has regained a bigger role worldwide due to the policies adopted by Putin domestically and externally,” Assad noted.
Assad accused unnamed countries of seeking instability in Syria, adding: “This meeting aims to draw a mutual vision for the upcoming stage of peace talks in Astana and Sochi.”
"We know that the political process will not be easy, since there are countries that do not want stability to Syria. However, we will continue to move steadily toward the peace process and for the sake of peace," Assad stressed.
"Syria will send a list of its delegates to the UN constitutional committee to discuss amendments to the current constitution. This will be done as soon as possible," Assad revealed.
President Vladimir Putin receives his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Sochi on May 17, 2018 - Press Photo
In a related context, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow on May 9 as Putin had previously invited Netanyahu to attend the Moscow Victory Day Parade. This visit came a few days after Israeli strikes targeted Iranian sites in Syria’s Damascus.
Observers believed Assad’s visit to Sochi proved the support provided from Moscow to the Syrian regime, and deemed a Russian attempt to stop the military escalation between Damascus and Tel Aviv.
The last meeting between Assad and Putin was in December at a Russian military air base in Syria’s coastal city of Latakia.
President Bashar al-Assad receives Russia’s Putin in Latakia in December, 2018 - Press Photo