May 18, 2018 / 1:56 PM / a month ago

Russia's Putin says Europe should leave politics out of Syria reconstruction

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that European countries should help Syria rebuild if they want refugees to return to the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia May 17, 2018. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the southern Russia city of Sochi, Putin called for the reconstruction of Syria to be depoliticised.

Russia has challenged the EU’s stance that the West would only focus on humanitarian assistance but provide no money for Syria’s reconstruction as long as President Bashar al-Assad fails to share power with the opposition.

Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Jon Boyle

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