Kremlin Rejects Report of Russia-US Deal on Bashar Assad’s Future

Kremlin Rejects Report of Russia-US Deal on Bashar Assad’s Future
Fri Apr 1, 2016 08:57:00

The Kremlin has said on Thursday that a report by the al-Hayat newspaper on an agreement between Russia and the United States on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not true.

Citing a UN Security Council diplomat, London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Hayat reported on Thursday that US Secretary of State John Kerry had informed several Arab countries of the alleged Moscow-Washington understanding that includes “Assad’s transfer to another country.” The report added, however, that "the timing and context of that in the political process remains unclear to everyone at the moment."

But Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the report as false during a press conference later in the day.
"Al-Hayat published information which does not correspond to reality," Peskov told journalists.

"Russia is advantageously different from other nations because it does not discuss the issue of the self-determination of third countries either through diplomatic or other channels," the Russian official added.

On March 25, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said that Russia and the US had reached an understanding on Moscow’s “basic thesis that deciding the issue of the future of Syria's president should not be on the agenda at this stage.”

The developments come amid a US-Russia brokered ceasefire in Syria that came into force on February 27 as part of efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the five-year-long foreign-sponsored militancy in the Arab country. The agreement stipulates the cessation of all military hostilities in Syria, except for the operations against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and the Syrian al-Qaeda, known as al-Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, the Syrian president has expressed readiness to hold snap presidential elections if Syrians so choose, although it is not included in the current political process.

"This depends on the Syrian people’s stance, on whether there is a popular will to hold early presidential elections. If there is such a will, this is not a problem for me. It is natural to respond to the will of the people and not to that of certain opposition forces. This issue concerns every Syrian citizen because every citizen votes for the president," he said on Thursday, adding that such a move needs "the Syrian public opinion and not the opinion of the government or the president;" Press TV reported.


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