Russia sends Syrian refugee proposal to US after Trump summit

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin react at the end of the joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. (Reuters pic)

MOSCOW: Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Friday it had sent a proposal to Washington to jointly organise the return home of Syrian refugees after agreements reached by President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump, Russian agencies said.

Trump and Putin met at a summit in Helsinki on Monday, although it is not known what they discussed at a one-on-one meeting there.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said it had sent Washington a proposal for drawing up a joint action plan to bring Syrian refugees back to the places they lived before the war broke out in 2011.

“The active advancement in this direction has been helped by the agreements reached by the presidents of Russia and the United States during the summit in Helsinki…,” Mikhail Mizintsev, a ministry official, was quoted as saying by TASS.

The United States and Russia’s militaries have a communications link in Syria to avoid accidental clashes and joint work on refugees would represent greater cooperation.

“The proposals presented by Russia are currently being worked out by the US side,” the ministry said.

It said the proposals include setting up a Russian-US-Jordanian monitoring group in Amman and a similar group in Lebanon. It said over 1.7 million Syrian refugees would be able to return to Syria in the near future.

Mizintsev said preliminary assessments indicated 890,000 refugees could return to Syria from Lebanon in the near future, 300,000 from Turkey and 200,000 from European Union countries.