Putin to meet Merkel to talk about Iran, Ukraine and energy

Hannah Rogers
May 18, 2018

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Russia's city of Sochi, saying it's an opportunity for future peace talks, the Syrian presidential media office said.

Since fighting broke out in his country in 2011, Assad has traveled only rarely but has made three publicly-acknowledged visits to Russian Federation, each time for meetings with Putin. Merkel has already said that the Syrian war has grown into a conflict of "gigantic proportions", and it is impossible to be solved without backing from Russia, Europe and others - but not the US.

"Stability is growing, and all this opens the door to a political process that we started some time ago".

"We know that the political process will not be easy, since there are countries that do not want stability to Syria".

It said that Russian Federation welcomes and supports this decision based on agreements reached in national dialogue meetings in Sochi.

Bashar al-Assad has travelled to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin

"We have evaluated the military situation and it was positive as for the steps that were achieved in the process of countering terrorism and especially the effect of these military actions on restoring the normal situation and the return of the people to their homes", Assad said.

Critics of Russia's action, among them the United States and European states, say it is propping up an Assad leadership that has lost its legitimacy, and that its air strikes have killed large numbers of civilians.

Putin congratulated Assad on what he said were considerable achievements by the Syrian armed forces against terrorist units. "Russian Federation welcomes this decision by the Syrian president and will be supporting it in every way, given the agreements reached during the Congress of the Syrian people held in Sochi several months ago", Putin said. The previous occasion was in November past year.

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.

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Arteta is reportedly fully aware of Arsenal's interest, and will accept the opportunity if the club offers it to him. Arteta who joined Arsenal from Everton spent five years in the Emirates Stadium before retiring in 2016.

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