MOSCOW, January 27 (Itar-Tass) – All political forces should be involved in the Syrian settlement in order to prevent a civil war, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the CNN television channel.
“All must sit at the negotiating table – Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Druzes, Christians. Only this way it is possible to establish a national dialogue. And if anyone is ignored, the civil war will continue,” he said.
“But on the other hand, by no means should a situation be allowed in which the current political elite is swept away by armed actions, because then the civil war will last for decades," he warned.
“That is why the task for the world community, for all countries, including the United States, the Europeans and regional powers, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others, is to sit the parties down for negotiations, and not just demand that Assad go and then be executed like (the late former Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi or be carried to court sessions on a stretcher like (Egypt's) Hosni Mubarak," Medvedev stressed.
The main thing now, he said, is to ensure the process of national reconciliation. “It is either the process of national reconciliation, which is to be controlled by the international community, or an endless civil war. There is no other option,” he said.
At the same time, the Russian prime minister acknowledged that Syria’s government was not ready for negotiations. President Assad, according to Medvedev, was far too slow to implement promised political reforms. "He should have done everything much faster, attracting part of the moderate opposition, which was ready to sit at the table with him, to his side," he said. "This was his significant mistake, and possibly a fatal one."
“I think that with every day, every week and every month the chances of his preservation are getting smaller and smaller," Medvedev noted. "But I repeat, again, this must be decided by the Syrian people. Not Russia, not the United States, not any other country.”
According to Medvedev, it should be a comprehensive civil process that might conciliate the people. “We are ready to take part in it. We have repeatedly said about it. I think we all bear responsibility for what will happen in Syria in the long run,” he stressed.
“If we allow the situation to develop according to a catastrophic scenario, it will be our colossal mistake and a trial for decades to come. Any Middle East dialogue could be out of question then,” he added.