By Dmitri Chirciu and Ali Cura
ANKARA (AA) – Russia managed to launch an intra-Syrian political process with its Astana format partners and with the support of the UN, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Putin spoke at the final plenary session of the 16th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club which was attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Jordan’s King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Referring to developments in Syria, Putin said most of the country was freed from terrorists within several years and the level of violence has drastically decreased.
“In conjunction with our Astana format partners and with the support of the UN, we managed to launch an intra-Syrian political process and to establish close working contacts with Iran, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries of the Middle East as well as the United States,” he added.
He stressed that his country managed to do a lot in Syria together with its partners in line with international law, respecting sovereignty and thinking primarily about the lives, safety and interests of the people.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity, which later developed into bloody clashes and interventions from external forces including the Lebanese Hezbollah group and Iranian militia.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
The Astana peace process to end the Syrian conflict was launched in January 2017 as the initiative of Turkey, Russia and Iran. A total of 13 rounds were conducted in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jordan’s King Abdullah said the “two-state solution” is the only way to resolve the issue.
He also expressed concern over Jerusalem and said all states are responsible for saving the city of peace.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar