Russian envoy to Paris says Assad ready for ‘civilised’ exit
Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is ready to give up power but only in a "civilised manner", Russia's envoy to Paris Alexander Orlov told Radio France International (RFI) in an interview Friday.
Assad had accepted a transition plan agreed by world powers in Geneva and named a representative for talks with the opposition, Orlov said. “That is to say, he is accepting to go — but to go in a civilised manner,” he said.
Asked if Assad’s departure was only a matter of time, Orlov said: “Personally I share your opinion. I believe it will be difficult for him to stay after everything that has happened.”
He said that by vetoing UN resolutions on Syria Russia was not defending the Assad regime but principles of non-interference in internal affairs.
“We do not have any particular links with the Assad regime, with the Syrian president. But for us this is a case of principles that goes far beyond what is happening in Syria,” he said.
He said Russia had done all it could to bring the regime to talks but that the West had not done the same with Syria’s opposition.
“Unfortunately our Western partners… did not work sufficiently hard with the Syrian opposition to encourage them to come to the negotiating table,” he said.