13:15 GMT +319 October 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, right, are seen here ahead of the first working meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders

    Syrian Envoy Shared Country's Expectations for Putin-Trump Meeting

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Damascus is not expecting a breakthrough from the upcoming meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Donald Trump, Imad Moustapha, Syria's ambassador to China and the former ambassador to the United States, told Sputnik on Friday.

    "We do not expect any breakthrough on Syria. However, we believe that the meeting will help direct president Trump further and further in his original half-hearted approach to the Syrian issue, and [help him] become more resistant to the demands of his ultra-hawkish aids to get more involved in Syrian matters. The more arguments he will hear regarding a hands-off approach to Syria the better it is for Syria," Moustapha said.

    Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said Wednesday the two leaders were likely to focus on bilateral relations, disarmament and the Syrian settlement during their upcoming meeting in Helsinki on July 16.

    READ MORE: Kremlin Reveals Details of Putin-Trump Meeting in Helsinki

    The ambassador added that the meeting will be a positive step in terms of contributing to lowering Russia-US tensions, but warned against excessive expectation in light of Trump's unpredictable nature.

    "President Trump will try to get ‘concessions’ from president Putin to be able to consolidate his standing on the domestic political scene amid the fierce polarization and bickering in Washington… But here also one should be extremely weary not to raise expectations," he said.

    Earlier on Friday, US media reported that Trump hopes to clinch a deal with Putin that will allow US military withdrawal from Syria. Mahmoud Afandi, a representative of Astana opposition platform, later told Sputnik that Moscow and Washington were preparing a deal to hand over Syria’s southern de-escalation zone and the US base in Al Tanf to Russian control, and the matter may be decided during the Russian and US presidents' summit in mid-July.

    READ MORE: Putin-Trump May Agree on US Pullout From Syria, Al-Tanf Handover — Analyst

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    meeting, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Syria, United States, Russia
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