Putin, Assad discuss Syrian chemical weapons destruction

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had a telephone conversation on Thursday, during which Putin praised progress on the disposal of the Syrian chemical weapons, the Kremlin press service reported.

Putin and Assad "discussed the work on putting chemical weapons in Syria under international control and disposing of them. The Russian president expressed his satisfaction with interaction that has been arranged between the Syrian authorities and an OPCW-UN mission," it said.

"Putin highlighted the efforts Russia is making along with its partners to prepare the Geneva II international conference and welcomed Assad's willingness to send a Syrian governmental delegation to this event. The hope was expressed that the principal groups of the opposition forces will take a constructive approach and attend the conference," it said.

The two leaders attached special significance to the humanitarian situation in Syria. Putin expressed his concern about reports on deliberate persecutions of the Christian and other religious minorities by extremists, it said.

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