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MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – Syrian President Bashar Assad expressed gratitude to his Russian counterpart for Moscow's position on Syria at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Monday.
“President [Assad] asked me to pass his thanks to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for his stance during and after the G20 summit,” Muallem said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
During the G20 summit last week, Putin spoke out against possible US military intervention against Assad’s forces in response to Damascus’ alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians last month.
Putin said he thought a chemical attack last month that killed hundreds of civilians was a provocation by anti-governmental rebels and said Russia would only support foreign military intervention against Assad if the operation was endorsed by the UN Security Council, of which Moscow is a permanent member.
Putin also said Russia will continue providing Assad’s regime with weapons and humanitarian aid and economic assistance in the event of airstrikes, though he reiterated Russia would not fight for the Syrian regime.
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Russia has surged ahead on the foreign policy stage, but this is not enough to remain a great power. The tough-minded policies and masterful diplomacy of Russia’s leadership have maximized the country’s position in the world, and are now the main source of its international influence and prestige. Russia’s foreign policy in the next decade depends entirely on what happens at home.