Saudi FM to Syrian Dissidents: Assad to Remain in Power

Saudi FM to Syrian Dissidents: Assad to Remain in Power
Mon Aug 7, 2017 09:04:41

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has told the Syrian dissidents that President Bashar al-Assad will keep power, the Russian media reported on Sunday.

According to the Arabic website of Russia Today (RT), a senior Syrian dissident source has quoted al-Jubeir as saying in a meeting with a delegation of negotiating dissidents on August 3 that Bashar al-Assad will remain in power.

Meantime, el-Jisser news website affiliated to the dissidents reported that the high delegation of Syrian dissidents negotiating with the government in peace talks has quoted Jubeir as saying that Assad is highly unlikely to step down under the current conditions.

Jubeir told the dissidents' representatives that it would be impossible to get Assad step down power in the first days of the transition stage.

The remarks came after Russia's Ambassador in Geneva Alexei Borodavkin said last month that the UN-led Syria talks have a chance of making progress because demands for the overthrow of President Assad have receded.

Borodavkin said the seventh round of talks, which ended on Friday, had produced positive results, especially a "correction" in the approach of the main opposition delegation, the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee.

"The essence of this correction is that during this round the opposition never once demanded the immediate resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and the legitimate Syrian government."

The HNC and its backers in Western and (Persian) Gulf capitals had realized that peace needed to come first, and then political reforms could be negotiated, he said.

"Assad must go" was long the mantra of the HNC and its international backers, a call flatly rejected by Russia, which is widely seen as holding the balance of power in Syria because of its military involvement and alliance with Assad.

But over the past year the opposition suffered military defeats at the hands of forces loyal to Assad, and neither US President Donald Trump nor French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for his immediate removal.

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