New parliamentary and presidential elections in Syria should become part of a political process in the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Of course, it's necessary to prepare for elections, both parliamentary and presidential ones," Lavrov said in an interview shown in a Saturday analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov on Rossiya-1 television channel.
"I am sure that the successes that the Syrian army is demonstrating today with our aerial support enable the government to consolidate its positions and should make the government more interested in promoting a political process," he said.
Lavrov said the issue had been discussed with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his recent visit to Moscow.
"He [Assad] perfectly understands this, and, by the way, he himself suggested the idea that the military phase in opposing terrorism must be supplemented by the consolidation of the healthy part of society and the start of a political process, which should guarantee that the interests of all Syrians without any exception are taken into consideration, regardless of their ethnic or religious background or their political preferences - the interests of all of them in the state system and governance bodies," Lavrov said.
He said he was sure that the European Union has realized mistakes that were made in Iraq and Libya.
"I am sure that most credible policymakers have learned these lessons, and as concerns Syria, even amid the continuing anti-Assad democratization rhetoric, the right understanding of the situation is getting stronger. This gives us the hope for eventually promoting a political process in a foreseeable future, that is, having all Syrians sit at the negotiating table by using external players," he said.
"External players can't decide anything for Syrians, and we should have them develop an algorithm on how to continue living in their country so that the interests of any religious, ethnic, or political group are reliably protected," he said.
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