Moscow: Future of Assad cannot be condition for settlement in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister gives an interview to the Zvezda TV channel

Russia cannot yield to anyone's whims regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's future, and believes a political settlement process in Syria cannot be conditioned by his fate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Some of our counterparts say that they are prepared for it [a political settlement in Syria] only if it is guaranteed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not be involved in the political process and in future institutions, because he is illegitimate," Lavrov said in an interview with the Zvezda TV channel on Dec. 30.

"It's impossible to afford such a luxury as to yield to someone's whims by saying that Syrian President Assad was legitimate but stopped being such this year," he said.

Lavrov said he was sure that "the terrorist threat is no less serious than the threat of chemical weapons, especially considering that it is becoming global and concerns not only Syria."

"SAR President Bashar al-Assad was perfectly legitimate when chemical weapons had to be taken out of Syria and destroyed. The UN Security Council and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons passed resolutions welcoming the Syrian government's decision to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. Everything was perfect, and no questions were raised as to whether the partner was illegitimate," he said.

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