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Middle east

Syrian opposition asks Moscow to drop Assad

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-11

The head of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, asked Moscow Wednesday to drop support for the beleaguered Syrian president during talks in the Russian capital.

AFP - The head of Syria's main exiled opposition group sought Wednesday to convince Russia to drop all support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, saying there was no hope of a political transition.

Syrian National Council chief Abdel Basset Sayda told Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in rare talks at the Russian foreign ministry that Moscow needed to understand his country was in the throes of a revolution.

"The events in Syria are not disagreements between the opposition and the government but a revolution," Sayda told Lavrov, comparing the events in his country to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

However in his opening remarks, Lavrov offered no hope of breakthrough in disagreements between Moscow and the Syrian opposition, which has been scathing of the Russian position in the Syrian crisis.

"Sometimes your organisation has questions about what we are doing and we want to clear up these questions today so that there are no doubts," Lavrov said.

He added that Russia wanted to understand in the talks if there are "prospects" of the opposition groups uniting and joining a platform for dialogue with the Syrian government.

Moscow has repeatedly refused to call on Assad to quit power, saying that Syria's political future cannot be imposed from the outside and must be decided via a dialogue involving all parties.

However the Syrian National Council has repeatedly said it had no patience with the idea of a political transition in Syria that would include members of the current regime.

"No dialogue with the ruling regime is possible. We can only discuss how to move on to a different political system," SNC spokeswoman Bassma Kodmani said in Moscow one day ahead of the talks.

"Russia is one of the most important states for Syria. It plays an important role that we hope can help us turn the page on the old regime."

Moscow's close ties with Damascus date back to its cooperation with Assad's late father Hafez al-Assad under the Soviet Union. Analysts say Russia is above all unwilling to lose its last strategic ally in the Middle East.
 

Date created : 2012-07-11

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