MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Western countries should begin talks with the government of the Syrian President Bashar Assad in order to put an end to the violence in the country, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Monday.
"The time has come to start negotiations with the Assad regime if we do not want this war, which has already killed 250,000 people, to keep causing human tragedies," Margallo, currently on a visit to Tehran, said as quoted by the local El Mundo newspaper.
"Whether we like it or not, Assad’s government is represented in the UN General Assembly, and it has the legitimacy in international negotiations," Margallo stressed.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with the government fighting against many opposition factions and militant groups, such as the ISIL.
Many Western states and their regional allies do not believe the Syrian government to be legitimate. An international coalition led by the United States has been launching airstrikes against the ISIL positions in Syria without seeking Damascus’ permission to do so, as well as training and arming the opposition in the country.
Russia, on the other hand, considers Assad's government legitimate, and has been supporting the country militarily.