President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, I am glad to once again welcome you to Moscow. First of all, please accept my best wishes on your recent birthday.
President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad (in Russian): Spasibo.
Vladimir Putin: And of course, on a personal note, congratulations on your solid performance in the presidential election. The result shows that you enjoy popular trust despite all the challenges and tragedies of the past years, which means that it is you that people view as the driver of recovery and a return to normal life.
I know that you are doing a great deal along these lines, including efforts to establish a dialogue with your political opponents. I really hope that this process continues. It is only by consolidating all the forces in Syria that the country can rebound and generate positive momentum in its development.
Much has been done to this effect. By working together, we have liberated most of the territory of the Syrian Republic, dealing the terrorists a heavy, damaging blow. The Syrian government now controls 90 percent of the country’s territory.
I believe that the main problem lies in the presence in some parts of the country of foreign armed forces without any mandate from the United Nations or your permission, which clearly runs counter to international law and undermines your ability to use your best efforts to consolidate the country and promote recovery at a pace that would have been possible, if the legitimate government controlled the entire country.
Regrettably, there are still some pockets of resistance, where the terrorists not only control part of the territory but also continue to terrorise peaceful civilians. Nevertheless, refugees are actively returning to the liberated areas. I actually saw during my visit, which I made at your invitation, that people are working hard to rebuild their houses and resume a peaceful life in every sense of the word.
Our joint efforts are producing a result. I am talking now not only about Russia’s humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, but also about the development of our trade and economic ties. During the first six months of this year, our trade increased by 250 percent.
We are also working together to deal with the biggest problem humankind has come across – the battle against the coronavirus infection. The first batches of Sputnik V and Sputnik Light have been delivered to Syria. I hope that our joint efforts will help the Syrian people get back on their feet in every sense of the word, will help them restore the economy, the social sphere and healthcare, first of all as regards the current challenges.
Mr President, I am very glad to see you. Welcome.
President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much.
It is a great honour for me to be in Moscow today, to meet with you and to discuss the issues that have to do with our common tasks, towards which we have been working and, while doing so, have attained positive results in the fight against international terrorism.
Our two armies, the Russian and Syrian armed forces, have been striving for and have achieved considerable results not only in the liberation of the territories occupied by the militants and in wiping away terrorism, but they have also facilitated the return of the refugees, who had to flee from their homes and their country.
Since international terrorism knows no borders and is spreading around the world like a virus, I can testify that our two armies have made a huge contribution to the protection of humankind from this evil.
Of course, our political initiatives and events, as well as the processes that we launched, be it in Sochi or in Astana, also helped bring life back to normal in the Syrian Arab Republic.
It must be noted, however, that the political processes that we carried out, have been in a state of stagnation for the past three years. Of course, there are reasons for this. There are countries that have been going to great lengths to undermine these political processes. There are other factors as well, and we are aware of them and are doing everything we can to address these urgent matters.
Some countries have imposed sanctions on the Syrian people, and these measures are clearly inhumane, directed against the state and are illegitimate. Despite all this, these sanctions are still in force.
Nevertheless, even in the current environment the Syrian Arab Republic is engaged in a whole range of processes, undertakes actions and contributes to various initiatives that must be carried through, be it to promote political dialogue or other processes.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to discuss the issues that I have already mentioned, as well as other aspects of our bilateral cooperation within working groups or as will be decided today.
Once again, I would like to take this opportunity and convey through you our gratitude to the Russian state, the Russian people and every citizen in person for the humanitarian aid that the Russian Federation has been generously providing to the Syrian Arab Republic that has been suffering for so long, including the medicine for treating and preventing the spread of the coronavirus, as well as other kinds of assistance, including food and other essential supplies that Russia has been sending to Syria. Thank you for this help.
In addition to this, a special thank you to the [Russian] Foreign Ministry for its clear and firm position and policy line on the international stage to stand up for the legitimate, universally recognised international principles and norms. The right of every people to self-determination and to determine its future on its own based on the national law is an inalienable and essential right. I would like to thank your Foreign Ministry for staying true to this policy line on the international stage, as I have already said, in order to prevent the spread of terrorism to the benefit of countries that support terrorism and seek to use it to further their own agenda.
I would like to express my gratitude for this. Many thanks indeed