Drop calls for Assad resignation: Lavrov


MOSCOW: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called for an end to “unrealistic and illogical” demands for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“If we remove from the equation the entirely unrealistic and counterproductive demand of the resignation of Assad as a precondition for the fight against terrorism… we may work effectively,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday.

He went on to say that the West has double standards when it comes to the legitimacy of Assad.

“It simply cannot be that, for the purpose of the destruction of chemical weapons Assad is legitimate, and for the purpose of fighting against terrorism he is not. It is not logical,” Lavrov said.

Russian officials have on numerous occasions underscored that Moscow does not support Assad personally, but rather backs him as “the legitimately elected president” of Syria.

This is while Iran has also announced its support for the Syrian government, with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stressing in a Tuesday meeting with the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in the Lebanese capital of Beirut that the Syrian leader remains instrumental in the settlement of the ongoing conflict in his country.

“We regard Mr. Bashar al-Assad as part of the solution in Syria and he is part of any political solution in the future of Syria,” he added.

This comes as the US Department of State released a statement on Friday, saying that the resignation of  Assad is “an important part of the fight” against the Daesh terrorist group.

The conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has reportedly claimed more than 240,000 lives up until now.

The violence has also forced over four million Syrians to take refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. More than 7.2 million others have been displaced internally, according to UN figures.

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