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Russian troop withdrawal from Syria welcomed
March 15, 2016, 5:12 am

President Vladimir Putin, has ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Syria [Xinhua]

President Vladimir Putin, has ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Syria [Xinhua]

With the resumption of peace talks in Geneva underway, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to pull the main force of troops from Syria has been welcomed by global powers.

“President Obama welcomed the much-needed reduction in violence since the beginning of the cessation,” said a White House statement.

In a phone conversation with US President Barack Obama, Putin said the primary objectives set before the Russian Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism has been fulfilled and that “a decision was made to withdraw the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces troops”.

“This will certainly serve as a good signal to all conflicting sides and create conditions for the start of a true peace process,” a Kremlin statement quoted Putin.

“The presidents called for intensification of the political process for settling the Syrian conflict, expressing support for the talks between the Government of Syria and the opposition, which are starting in Geneva under the auspices of the UN, following which the Syrian people should determine the future setup of their state themselves,” the statement added.

Russia’s bases in Syria’s Tartous and Khmeimim will continue their normal operations.

The Syrian opposition welcomed the Russian move.

“If there is seriousness in implementing the withdrawal, it will give the talks a positive push,” said Salim al-Muslat, spokesman for the rebel factions’ High Negotiations Committee.

Putin had discussed and coordinated the decision with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the Kremlin.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also welcomed Moscow’s move.

“This will increase the pressure on the al-Assad regime to finally and seriously negotiate a peaceful political transition in Geneva,” a German Foreign Ministry statement quoted Steinmeier.

Tehran has also supported the Russian decision as a positive development for the ceasefire.

“The fact that Russia announced that it’s withdrawing part of its forces indicates that they don’t see an imminent need for resort to force in maintaining the ceasefire. That in and of itself should be a positive sign. Now we have to wait and see,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday.


TBP and Agencies

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