Int'l Community Left 'Assad Must Go' Narrative Behind - Russian Deputy FM

© AFP 2022 / LOUAI BESHARASyrians walk past a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus on March 15, 2016
Syrians walk past a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus on March 15, 2016 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The demand for Syrian President Bashar Assad's resignation, previously repeatedly stated by many of the world's politicians, is essentially left behind, as no one raises it anymore, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister told Sputnik in an interview.

"As we are talking about the ministerial week of the 73rd session of the General Assembly, I can say that no one raised the question of the Syrian president's resignation. There is an understanding that this country, which is a UN member, has the right to choose its path. And the people of the country should and will determine who is in charge of them. Therefore, I would say that we have already overcome this issue. And this is very good," the Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Vershinin said. 

When asked about the second National Congress Dialogue, the official said that there was no point in holding it now as the decisions made during the first congress have not been implemented yet. 

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"Now we are striving for the implementation of decisions made at the first congress. Let us finish that at first. That is a very important stage. The idea to form the Constitutional Commission is based on the recommendations and results of the first congress," Vershinin said.

The Russian minister also commented on the possibility of the dialogue between Damascus and Washington stressing that Moscow would welcome the move as it would be beneficial for the peace process, however, it could be only possible if Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected.

"As I understand, Damascus is open to dialogue with all countries… However, the dialogue should be based on the fact that Damascus's interlocutors recognize the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of [Syria]… Of course, any understanding and new common points between Syria and any other country, whether it be the United States or someone else, will be beneficial," the official said.

In this photo released on July 1, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview with Australia's SBS news channel, in Damascus, Syria - Sputnik International
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The interview with the Russian deputy foreign minister comes following the announcement of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made in mid-September that the German government could not imagine a long-term political solution with Assad remaining in power.

However, Maas did not call the withdrawal of Assad a mandatory prerequisite for Germany's participation in the reconstruction of the country. In turn, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the CBS broadcaster that Assad's departure is a matter of time, but the United States did not seek to bring Assad down.

The United States and its allies have repeatedly stated that they do not consider the Syrian settlement possible if Assad stays in power. Russia has supported the legitimate government of the Syrian president, repeatedly stressing that only the Syrian people should decide the fate of Assad.

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According to media reports, the United States has been covertly providing weapons and supplies to the Syrian rebels, which have been involved in an armed conflict with the government since 2011. Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused the United States on a number of occasions of providing support to militants since the first day of the country's civil war.

Since 2014, the US-led coalition has also started carrying out anti-terrorist operations in the country. The coalition's activities in Syria have not been authorized either by the UN Security Council or Damascus.

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