MOSCOW, July 5 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow has no intention to offer asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“When [President] Vladimir Putin was in Berlin on June 1 and talked with [Chancellor] Angela Merkel, our German colleagues said in the context of that visit that they thought it would be good it Russia gave asylum to Bashar al-Assad,” Lavrov said after talks with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle on Thursday, July 5.
“Our country took it as a joke. This is why we replied with a joke too: ‘It would be better if you Germans take Mr. Assad if he wants to go somewhere’. I through it would stop there on that joking note,” the minister said.
“I was quite surprised when during my recent contacts with foreign colleagues, when we discussed Syria, I heard that they were convinced that we would take him [Assad] to Russia and thus solve all problems of the Syrian people,” Lavrov said.
“Either it’s an unfair attempt to mislead serious people engaged in foreign policy or misunderstanding of facts and Russia’s position,” he added.
“Only the Syrian people can decide the fate of Syria, including that if its leaders. This is clearly stated in the communique of the Geneva meeting of June 30,” the minister said.
“Some of our partners made attempts during the talks to include certain preconditions in the communique, certain limitations, such as who should be allowed to participate in the national dialogue. We did not let that go,” Lavrov said.
“The final communique does not contain anything like that. It says that a transitional mechanism should be formed by the government and the opposition on the basis of mutual consent. Period,” he said.