Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Syria said Wednesday it is time for the parties to the Syrian conflict to allow for a political solution to put an end to the crisis.
“We are ready to work together with our Lebanese friends in the context of the Astana path, and we are determined to make more efforts and coordinate with the international partners such as the United States, Europe and regional countries,” Alexander Lavrentiev said at a news conference in Beirut following his meeting with Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.
He said a political solution was essential to achieve concrete results in war-weary Syria.
“We also discussed a specific issue that concerns Lebanon, which is the refugees, and agreed to exert more joint efforts to accelerate the return of the Syrian refugees to their homeland.
“Our common agreement allows us to accelerate the solution to this problem because the presence of the displaced Syrians deepens the problem,” he added.
Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement saying that Lavrentiev met with the country’s foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, and discussed political and economic ties between Beirut and Moscow.
The statement said the parties discussed conditions in the Middle East and tensions between Gulf countries, noting they focused on the formation of a constitutional committee in Syria.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.