(TASS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken highly of the level of interaction achieved by Russian and Turkish special services in Syria.
“We rate very highly the level of interaction achieved between the special services of Russia and Turkey and between the two countries’ military,” Putin told a news conference following talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow on Friday.
He attributed the achievement of truce exclusively to that interaction and the participation of the Iranian partners in it. Putin recalled that for the first time ever the conflicting parties came to the negotiating table in Astana.
“This is a tangible result of our joint work,” he said.
Vladimir Putin said he was cautiously optimistic over the prospects of the political settlement in Syria:
“I want to express cautious optimism over the possibility that by joining efforts and involving other reputable players, including the United States, we will succeed in effectively contributing to the strengthening of the ceasefire and switching on this ground to full-fledged political settlement,” the head of the Russian state said.
According to Putin, “naturally, the principle of the territorial integrity of states must be observed for peace and calmness to persist in the region and for the start of the process of rebuilding Syria and other countries of the region.”
“In this sense, the restoration of the territorial integrity of Syria is, in our mind, an obligatory condition for full-fledged settlement,” Putin said.
In Putin’s estimate, the situation in Syria “remains tense and there are very many factors of uncertainty, contradictions in the region and in the country.”
According to the Russian president, “concerted action by Russia, Turkey and Iran maintain the truce in Syria by and large”. The level of violence has reduced considerably as well, Putin added:
“Active measures by Russia and Turkey have not only achieved the termination of hostilities between Syrian government troops and the armed opposition but also allowed for starting meaningful, direct talks between the conflicting parties in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.”
According to Putin, a lot of attention at the talks was paid to the situation in the Middle East, including Syria. “The sides spoke for pooling efforts of the entire world community to rebuff terrorism,” he said. “We agreed with our Turkish colleagues to continue active cooperation in fighting against terrorist groups, first of all Islamic State, to coordinate the activities of the military and security services.”