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Putin to meet UN chief Ban amid Syria crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at his Black Sea residence in Sochi on Friday, the Kremlin said.

The Kremlin did not specify the agenda of the upcoming talks with Ban, who will be visiting Russia from May 16 to 19. Ban’s visit comes amid a new international push for a peace conference to end more than two years of bloodshed in Syria.

Earlier this month Russia and the United States proposed to organise a peace conference on Syria expected to build on the never implemented agreement in Geneva last June that called for a ceasefire and the formation of a transitional government.

Russia however is showing no signs of withdrawing its support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has publicly refused to rule out supplies of defensive weapons to Damascus.

On Wednesday, the UN General Assembly condemned Assad’s “escalation” of the Syrian war. Russia fiercely opposed the UN resolution passed by 107 votes to 12 at the 193-member assembly.