Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Assad informed the Russian leader of his decision to "send a delegation to the UN" to discuss reforming the country's constitution. [The Russian] president noted and congratulated Assad on the considerable success of the government forces in the fight against terrorist groups.
The Russian president said the terrorists have laid down their arms in key locations in Syria, allowing for the restoration of Syrian infrastructure.
"The next task, of course, is the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Putin added.
Since fighting broke out in Syria in 2011, the Syrian president has traveled three times to Russian Federation for talks with Putin - visits that underscored Moscow's status as Assad's chief backer. "Therefore, Russia is not supposed to initiate this discussion".
"After these military successes, additional conditions have doubtless been created for the renewal of a fully fledged political process", he was quoted as saying.
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"Russia, with proven technological prowess across sectors, is ideally placed to partner with India for realizing the hitherto unexplored business and investment opportunities", Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI said on Thursday.
This assumes significance against the backdrop of the challenge posed to India-Russia defence partnership by impending USA sanctions against several Russian entities involved in military supplies to India under the controversial Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Though the meeting occurred during the day, according to a video recording, Russian state television broadcast news of the visit only late Thursday, for reasons that were unclear.
The two leaders discussed the ongoing clashes in Syria between pro-Assad forces and civilian rebels.
The Russian President is also meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in the next few weeks.