The four-hour personal communication between Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad in Sochi acquires additional significance, taking into account the forthcoming talks in Sochi on Wednesday of the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran. Earlier, including from Damascus, the emphasis was on military victory, now we are talking about a political decision - the elections with Assad, said in a conversation with the newspaper VZGLYAD Senator Oleg Morozov.
President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the Syrian leader Bashar Assad in Sochi on Monday evening. Negotiations of the leaders lasted about four hours, the press secretary of the Russian leader Dmitry Peskov said.
Telephone conversations between the leaders of the two countries are not uncommon, unlike the international visits of the president of Syria (which are now difficult for obvious reasons). The more valuable is the fact of Assad's arrival in Russia and personal communication between the heads of the two states.
First of all, both presidents stressed that the military operation in the Arab Republic is coming to an end and now it is time to move on to political processes. "Until the complete victory over terrorism, of course, it is still very far away. But as for our joint work to fight terrorists in Syria, this military operation is really coming to an end, "Putin said.
Great progress has been made "both directly on the battlefield, and politically," Assad noted. Many areas of Syria are exempt from the militants, and now the Syrians are returning to their abandoned homes, the president of the UAR stated. He expressed to Putin "the gratitude of the Syrian people for the fact that we managed to defend the territorial integrity and independence of our country."
In addition, during the meeting, Putin presented Assad with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, which takes part in the meeting on military construction and the state arms program. In response, Assad stressed that it was the Russian operation that "allowed the promotion of a political settlement in Syria."
Syrian congress to be held and meeting of "Astana Three"
Also, the leaders discussed the principles of the congress of the peoples of Syria in Sochi, which is to be held 2 December. It is expected that more than 1 thousand people will take part in it.
Recall, on the idea of creating a congress of peoples, Vladimir Putin told 19 October. He expressed hopes that the process will involve "all ethnic and religious groups, the government and the opposition." This is an important step towards a political settlement, Putin stressed. In addition, the creation of the congress will make it possible to prepare a new constitution for the country, the head of state added.
In addition, we recall that another important event is expected, directly related to the settlement in Syria. The presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran, the guarantor countries of the peace talks in Astana, will meet on November 11 in Sochi to discuss the current situation. On the eve of the meeting of Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hasan Roukhani in Sochi, the chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Hulusi Akar has already taken off. He is expected to communicate with Russian and Iranian colleagues Valery Gerasimov and Mohammad Hossein Bagheri.
The meeting consolidated Asad's consent to the political process
A number of points that are being discussed now at the meeting of Putin and Assad have already been discussed at a lower level in Astana, where the political settlement process is continuing, "Elena Suponina, adviser to the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, said in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. She noted: "The summit is meant to symbolize the completion of a certain stage, namely, priority activity on the fronts."
It is not without reason that Putin, during his conversation with Assad, repeatedly mentioned the expression "political process", "political settlement". This means that there is an urgent need to promote this component and political reforms in Syria, the interlocutor stressed.
The meeting between Putin and Assad "once again consolidated the existing agreements and Assad's consent to the political process," Oleg Morozov, member of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a conversation with the newspaper VZGLYAD.
He recalled that the idea had repeatedly sounded, including from the Syrian side, to achieve victory by military means, to destroy the opposition, terrorists, and then, they say, everything will be fine.
"But we are supporters of the political process, which should continue to be under international control, on the basis of the relevant Geneva agreements," stressed Senator Morozov. That is, there will be elections with the participation of Assad, who, of course, must agree to this political process, the interlocutor explained.
Assad, of course, understands the role of Russia
It is perfectly clear that for Putin it is very important to hear Assad's position on all key issues, understand his picture of the world, how he sees a further political settlement, to compare this picture with what he will hear from the leaders of Turkey and Iran, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hasan Roukhani Suponin notes.
As for the various interpretations about the fact that Putin, he said, received from Assad the goodwill for further actions during the talks in Sochi, Suponina stressed: Assad certainly understands the role of Russia in the antiterrorist operation in Syria and in the region as a whole.
At the same time, Russia respects Syria as a sovereign state and the relations of the two leaders do not bear the character of some kind of guarantee, the transfer of authority. "These are relations between the two states," Suponina stated.
Putin's meeting with Assad took place against the backdrop of the ongoing contacts of the Russian president with other mediators in the Syrian conflict in the Middle East. The meeting of the "Astana Troika" Russia-Turkey-Iran has already been mentioned above.
And on the eve Putin held a telephone conversation with the Qatar emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who also discussed the Syrian crisis and the prospects for a political settlement in the republic.
All this suggests that there is "a natural coordination between the Syrian government and these states, which are now most actively mediating in the Syrian settlement," Suponina said.
Senator Morozov also noted the need for the interaction of all interested parties in the Syrian conflict. He recalled that the issue of the Syrian settlement is a multilateral process. Therefore, the meeting with Assad on the eve of the visit to Sochi by Erdogan and Rouhani is not accidental. Senator stressed: "We initially proceeded from the fact that without taking into account the position of Turkey, Iran can not solve the problem."
Iran from the very beginning was our ally in the fight against IGIL *. The factor of Turkey also plays a crucial role: "Turkey initially showed an extremely negative attitude to Assad. In addition, Turkey has a Kurdish problem, one way or another connected with the issue of the territorial integrity of Syria, "Morozov stressed. "Therefore, any exclusion from the future design of one of these players complicates the solution of the task and political settlement, and territorial integrity," the senator summed up.
* Organization, in respect of which the court accepted an inured decision on liquidation or prohibition of the activity on the grounds provided the Federal Law "On Countering Extremist Activity"