Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Russia says Assad could go

06 June 2012, 09:12

Moscow - Russia said on Tuesday it was prepared to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave power in a negotiated solution to 15 months of bloodshed that has claimed more than 13 000 lives.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said a day after meeting mediator Kofi Annan in Geneva that Russia would back any peaceful settlement to the crisis as long as it did not involve the use of outside force.

"We have never said or insisted that Assad necessarily had to remain in power at the end of the political process," Gatilov told the ITAR-TASS news agency in Switzerland.

"This issue has to be settled by the Syrians themselves."

The comments represent one of Russia's most explicit declarations of a position first signalled by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a day after a February 7 meeting in Damascus with Assad.

Lavrov at the time refused to explicitly back Assad and said the leadership structure of Moscow's Soviet-era ally "should be the result of agreement between the Syrians themselves".

Russia has been facing mounting pressure to back Assad's departure as a first step in a settlement that would see his inner circle assume command on an interim basis.

The option is modelled on the recent transition in Yemen and has been backed by the US administration.

Yemeni model

The New York Times has reported that US President Barack Obama plans to raise the option when he meets Vladimir Putin for the first time since his May return to the Russian presidency at next month's G20 summit in Mexico.

Gatilov said the Yemeni model could only be relevant if the rebels agreed to lay down their arms and sit down for talks.

"When we discuss applying the Yemeni model to the situation in Syria, we have to keep in mind that unfortunately, there is no desire from the opposition to engage in any political talks with the government," Gatilov said.

"It would be good to... see a political will from both sides that would allow us to move toward a settlement," he added.

"And in that case, it would probably be appropriate to talk about the Yemeni model."

Gatilov's comments came as another top Russian official announced that a US delegation headed by Washington's Syria crisis pointman Frederic Hof would be travelling to Moscow later this week.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Types of men that are a waste of ...

Most women end up heartbroken because they were trying to convince the wrong man to be in a relationship/ marriage. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Cheating is hardwork!

Cheating, although enjoyable by the person doing it initially, it gets to a point they start realizing that it was never even worth it. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Dating that one person that socie...

Works at a massage parlour. Works at Millionaires Club (that one on Baricho road) - you know the ones I am talking about. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM rebels sweat in Kisii as Oran...

ODM rebels are sweating in Kisii after the Orange Party won by elections despite concerted efforts by the ruling Jubilee Party to win the elections. Read more...