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Jumblatt Restores Relations With Russia - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut- Leader of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) deputy Walid Jumblatt was received warmly in Moscow on Friday, reflecting a great improvement in the relations between the two parties following Jumblatt’s harsh positions against the Syrian regime and its president Bashar al-Assad.

The visit also revealed that Jumblatt was capable of restoring relations with Moscow, through the same Syria crisis door, as he reiterated his support for a political solution in Syria in which Moscow plays a role.

Jumblatt’s trip to Russia coincided with the Russian efforts to revive the Syrian peace talks in Geneva and Moscow’s attempts to fortify a ceasefire deal and demarcate the borders of the deescalation zones that would involve Deraa, a Syrian province located near Suwayda, which includes a majority of Druze.

The PSP leader arrived Friday to Moscow where he separately met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. His meeting with Lavrov was rather political, while Jumblatt said his meeting with Bogdanov was of a “cordial nature.”

The Druze leader had last met with the Russian foreign minister about two years ago, which explains that Jumblatt’s visit to Moscow this week has opened a new horizon of the relations between the two sides.

PSP spokesperson Rami al-Rayess told Asharq Al-Awsat that the relation between Jumblatt and Russia is historic and was established since the days of the Soviet Union, even if it has witnessed some differences in the points of view.

Rayess said that those differences were mainly related to the Syrian crisis. “The vision concerning Syria might not be similar. But, this doesn’t mean that Jumblatt fails to appreciate Moscow’s support for a political solution in Syria,” a position he repeatedly expressed during his stay in Russia.

Rayess added that Jumblatt insists that a political solution achieved through the Geneva talks is essential to end the bloody conflict in the war-torn country.