President Putin: Dear Mr President,
Allow me to wish you a warm welcome to Moscow.
Syria is a country with which Russia – both the Soviet Union and Russia today – has always had special and very warm relations. At any rate, in our relations today we can be guided by the traditions of friendship and cooperation that have been established over decades. We had a very long pause, particularly at the high level: since the beginning of the 1990s there have not been any visits of this kind. Nevertheless, both in the bilateral plan and in order to exchange information on the situation in Middle East, the demand for visits of this kind is extremely high. So we are very happy to see you, dear Mr President: I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to Moscow.
Bashar al-Asad: Thank you very much, Your Excellency. The reasons for this visit are naturally the development of our relations recently, and this is primarily thanks to you. There are over 35,000 graduates of your country in Syria. And so we would like to be guided by this solid foundation, and I would like to thank you, and above all talk about your position and role in the UN resolution passed in 1999. If it had not been for our position, the situation would be completely different. I will leave out a great many aspects that I will talk to you about during supper. And the second topic is regulating Syria’s debt to Russia. This will give major stimulus to our relations.