Putin discusses Syria conflict with Saudi king: Kremlin

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MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday spoke by phone with Saudi Arabia s King Salman after hosting Syria s embattled leader for key talks the day before, the Kremlin said.

“The discussion of the issue of Syria was continued,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“The Russian leader informed the monarch about the results of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad s visit to Russia.”

Assad travelled to Moscow for his first known foreign trip since the conflict broke out in his country in 2011, holding landmark talks on the future of Syria with Putin.

The two leaders stressed the importance of political settlement that should follow military operations, the Kremlin said.

Throughout Wednesday, Putin and his Russian foreign minister have been involved in a flurry of diplomatic talks, with the Kremlin chief also speaking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also held phone talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, with the two agreeing to meet for talks on Syria in Vienna on Friday.

Foreign ministers from Turkey and Saudi Arabia — which have been among the most vocal opponents of the Assad regime — are also set to take part in the Vienna talks.

Putin has been seeking to muscle his way back onto the world stage after months of Western isolation over the Ukraine crisis. On September 30, he launched a bombing campaign in Syria.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said last month that Assad must leave office or face being turfed out by force.

Putin met Saudi Arabia s Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier this month for talks about the possibility of a political solution in Syria.

2015-10-22

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