President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Minister, friends, good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to see you.
I know that our two countries’ foreign ministries are keeping up regular contact between our countries. We know the difficult situation in Syria and how it is developing, particularly as concerns the attacks by international terrorism.
We realise that in circumstances such as these, success always comes hand-in-hand with problems too, and military defeats are also possible. But we are confident that the Syrian people will ultimately be victorious and we remain committed to our policy of supporting Syria, its government and its people. At the same time, we think that we can only fight terrorism and extremist radicalism effectively if all countries in the region unite their efforts.
Russia has very good relations with all countries in the region without exception, and our contacts with these countries show that all of them are ready to make their contribution to fighting the evil that is the Islamic State. This is true of Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
In this context, we call on all of our friends, including our friends in Syria, to do everything possible to establish constructive dialogue between all countries that want to fight terrorism and, of course, continue developing constructive relations with everyone who is already giving Syria their support today.
We know that misunderstandings, friction and temporary problems do frequently arise between neighbours, but it is certainly essential for everyone to unite their efforts for the sake of combating this common evil.
Please pass on my best wishes to President of Syria Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for this meeting today. It gives me pleasure to pass on President al-Assad’s best wishes to you.
Mr President, we know your part in the accomplishments that Russia has achieved over this recent time. It will, however, take greater efforts yet to establish a coalition such as you spoke of, an effective coalition of neighbouring countries to fight terrorism.
As you know, the main problem in Syria is that the countries that you mentioned are supporting terrorists operating in our country. But we are ready, with the help of your efforts, to make an effort to cooperate for the sake of fighting terrorism.
We always look too, to Russia’s experience and the Soviet experience in the Great Patriotic War, when your people succeeded in its stand against the Nazi invaders. I am thinking particularly of the battles of Leningrad and Stalingrad. We count on your support and we are sure that the Syrian people, like the Soviet people, will stand firm against terrorism.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Minister, as I said, we will continue our support and you can count on this. I agree with you that establishing a coalition of the kind we are talking about is not an easy task, given the various difficulties in relations between countries in the region over these last years. But if the Syrian government deems it expedient and possible, we will do everything we can to support you and will use our good relations with the countries in the region to at least make an attempt to build this coalition.