Lavrov: Ouster Precondition for Assad is Unacceptable

Lavrov: Ouster Precondition for Assad is Unacceptable
Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:54:28

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed that Moscow does not agree to the precondition that calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside before any meaningful talks between parties to the Syria crisis and the subsequent peace process in the country.

On Monday, Lavrov stated that Russia's position "has not changed" on Syria and a solution to the conflict should come "without outside interference or any kinds of preconditions."

The remarks came in response to the August 14 allegations by the head of the so-called Syrian National Coalition, Khaled Khoja, that Moscow is "not clinging to Bashar al-Assad."

Russian officials have on numerous occasions underscored that Moscow does not support Assad personally, but rather backs him as "the legitimately elected president" of Syria, Press TV reported.

On Friday, Lavrov told senior Syrian opposition leader Haytham Manna in the Russian capital city of Moscow that the anti-terror agenda now tops the priorities of all parties to the Syrian crisis, including the opposition groups.

Manna, for his part, voiced his support for Moscow’s political initiative to end the deadly conflict in Syria, saying that “a military solution cannot bring anything but violence.”

He also urged all sides to contribute to the political process in Syria.

The Western-backed Geneva I and Geneva II peace conferences on Syria, held in June 2012 and February 2014 respectively, ended in total failure since foreign-sponsored opposition figures refused to discuss widespread terrorism in the country and persisted in demanding the ouster of the Syrian government as a precondition.

The conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has reportedly claimed more than 240,000 lives up until now.

The violence has also forced over 3.8 million Syrians to take refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. More than 7.2 million others have been displaced within Syria, according to the United Nations.

string(680) "[{"id":"1723499","sort":"3396655","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/07/25/alalam_635734301225727057_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Tunis, Syria Restore Diplomatic Relationships"} ,{"id":"1723505","sort":"3396656","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/07/25/alalam_635734318553664086_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS Australian Nurse Returns Home from Syria"} ,{"id":"1723626","sort":"3396657","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/07/25/alalam_635734446839563488_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIS Fighters Crucify 17-Year-Old Boy in Syria"} ,{"id":"1723638","sort":"3396658","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/07/25/alalam_635734458250830605_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Takfiri Terrorists Killed in Idlib in Syria"} ]"