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    'Flexible Approach': Putin 'Ready to Talk to Everyone' in Middle East

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to engage in dialogue with all parties in the Middle East, including the United States, German newspaper Die Welt wrote.

    While the West has become increasingly indecisive with regard to the war in Syria, with the United States and the EU acting more cautiously than ever before, Russia "returns" to the Middle East and gains more and more influence in the region, the newspaper noted.

    "Moscow again wants to talk to the United States as equals. With this purpose, Putin is building relations with the countries of the region. In principle he is ready to talk to everyone. At the same time, he knows exactly when it is the right time to demonstrate its military strength and create facts," the newspaper wrote.

    One year ago, Russia started its military operation in Syria following an official request from President Bashar Assad.

    "[It] immediately became a country without which resolution to the conflict is no longer possible," the newspaper noted.

    Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is now pursuing a more pragmatic rather than ideological approach. In autumn last year, there was a great fear that a military confrontation between Russia and Turkey might happen, especially after the Turkish Air Force had shot down a Su-24 Russian fighter jet, but now after reconciliations between Ankara-Moscow such a possibility seems to be rather unlikely.

    "The indicator of its [Moscow's current] behavior is flexibility. Today, the Russian response to the Turkish military intervention in Syria is very moderate, indicating a silent agreement. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "concerned" about the developments. However, a few months ago, before the reconciliation between Putin and Erdogan, the criticism would have been much harder," the newspaper noted.

    Relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated after a Turkish F-16 fighter downed a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria on November 24, 2015. Following the incident, Russia imposed restrictive measures against Turkey, including sanctions in trade, tourism and investments.

    The reconciliation between the two parties took place in June, following Turkey's apology to Russia for the November incident. In August, Turkey started military operation in Syria in order to eliminate Daesh and repel Kurdish fighters from its border.

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    Middle East, dialogue, Vladimir Putin, Russia
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