Vladimir Putin calls for 'political process' on Syria

Bashar al Assad has travelled to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin

The two leaders met in the Black Sea resort of Sochi today

Russian Federation welcomes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's decision to send a delegation to the United Nations to set up the constitutional committee, President Vladimir Putin said at talks with the Syrian leader on Thursday. He also visited Putin in Moscow in October 2015, soon after Russian Federation launched its military operation in Syria.

Germany has condemned Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its military support for the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

A posting on the Syrian presidency's Facebook page said Assad and Putin also discussed economic cooperation and growing investments by Russian companies in Syria.

"The next task, of course, the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Mr Putin added. "[The two parties] have noted the necessity to create additional conditions for the resumption of full-format political process in Syria", Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "But with you and other partners and friends, we will continue to make strong progress in the peace process", Assad was quoted as saying in the statement.

"During today's meeting we have agreed upon the next steps with the Syrian president related to countering terrorism and the terrorist groups in Syria", Putin said.

"Thanks to military successes, we are managing to normalise the situation in the country, opening the way for the return of many of our compatriots".

Media outlets also reported that Putin said Russian Federation expected foreign armed forces to pull out of Syria as a peace process began.

Putin held talks with Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, ahead of his meetings with European leaders.

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