Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Ghana votes in tight presidential race

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Graduation', 'Go Home' & Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas turns 100

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French educational system 'as mediocre as always'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Southern India bids farewell to 'Amma'

Read more

FACE-OFF

2017 French presidential election: Can Valls unite the left?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump wins $50bn US investment from Japan's Softbank

Read more

THE DEBATE

France 24 turns ten: How to cover a changing world (part 1)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Interior minister takes over as France's premier

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Former LRA commander Ongwen pleads not guilty to 70 counts of war crimes

Read more

Middle east

Syria denies claims Assad is ready to step down

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-20

Syrian authorities denied claims on Friday that President Bashar al-Assad was willing to quit power, moments after Russia’s ambassador to France (right) told media the embattled leader had agreed to do so, as long as it was done in an “orderly way”.

REUTERS - The Russian ambassador to France said on Friday he believed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had accepted he would have to leave power although only in an orderly fashion, but the Syrian government swiftly denied this.

Ambassador Alexandre Orlov told French RFI radio that Assad, facing a surging uprising against his rule, signalled readiness to step down when he accepted a recent international declaration which foresaw a transition towards a more democratic Syria.

“At the Geneva conference, there was a final communique that foresees a transition towards a more democratic system,” Orlov said. “This final communique was accepted by Assad. Assad nominated his representative to lead the negotiations with the opposition for this transition. That means he accepted to leave, but in an orderly way.”

Syria’s Information Ministry quickly denied this, saying Orlov’s remarks were “completely devoid of truth”.

Orlov further said his personal opinion Assad would not be able to remain in power. “I think it will be difficult for him to stay after everything that has happened. But essentially, he has accepted that he will have to leave.”

Russia on Thursday blocked a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that would have contained a threat to impose sanctions if Syria did not comply with U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

Moscow has repeatedly said any deal must follow the principles outlined at talks in Geneva on June 30 between Annan and veto-holding members of the Security Council, which Russia until now had said did not specifically require Assad’s exit.

“What Russia is defending is not Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but international order that was created in 1945 around the United Nations,” Orlov said. “For us it is a matter of principle that goes beyond what is happening in Syria.”

A senior Western diplomat recommended caution with respect to Orlov’s comments. “We have not heard Assad say he is willing to step down before,” the diplomat said. “But what does he mean? Does he mean now or in two years' time. We have to be cautious.”

 

Date created : 2012-07-20

  • SYRIA

    UN showdown over extending Syria observer mission

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian rebels seize control of border posts with Iraq

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian rebels prepare for bloody Ramadan face-off

    Read more

COMMENT(S)