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Russia sees shifts in US stance on Assad — diplomat

September 22, 2015, 16:14 UTC+3

According to a Russian diplomat, the West's attempts to lay the blame for a flow of refugees upon Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are inconsistent

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

© AP Photo/SANA, File

MOSCOW, September 22 /TASS/. Russia sees certain shifts in the US stance on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday.

"It is hard for me to speak for the United States. But in principle certain nuances in approaches to Syria have started to appear, Gatilov explained.

"It seems that our partners have taken a more realistic approach to certain things. At first, they stuck to a thesis that Bashar al-Assad should go and nothing could be done so long as he stays in power," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"The thesis [about Assad’s departure] remains in the US strategic plans but in terms of tactics the US is trying to find some steps that would allow tasking a different look at prospects for a political settlement and starting a political dialogue among the conflicting parties in Syria," Gatilov stressed.

"Perhaps, there have been some shifts from this point of view," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

West’s attempt to blame refugee flows on Assad inconsistent

According to Gatilov, the West's attempts to lay the blame for a flow of refugees upon Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are inconsistent.

"We have been saying right from the start that the conflict situation fomented by Western partners in the region of Middle East and North Africa could have such consequences, and it has happened," Gatilov said.

"Attempts to say that all this [migrant flows] is happening because of the policy Assad pursues in his country are inconsistent. People are fleeing a war and the activity of Islamic State," he added.

No Russian representatives to be included in de Mistura working groups on Syria 

The diploamt noted that Russia’s representatives will not be included in the working groups of UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

"No. This issue is not being discussed. Staffan de Mistura has already appointed the groups’ leadership and the deputies," Gatilov said. "We are now working with de Mistura, trying to add representatives of different countries, not only Western ones, to the groups."

"We believe it’s an important aspect for ensuring the working groups’ effective operation," the official said.

Moscow supports earliest start of political dialogue in Syria

 Russia supports the earliest start of a political dialogue between the warring sides in Syria. the diplomat noted. 

"We call for a political settlement of this bloody conflict. It lasts for more than four years, killing a lot of people," the deputy minister said. "The current task is to launch a political dialogue between the warring parties as soon as possible."

Gatilov said that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has proposed a plan to launch the inter-Syrian dialogue which includes, inter alia, the establishment of four working groups on various aspects. "The political part is of major importance. We support the things proposed by de Mistura, we are cooperating with him," the senior diplomat said. "We are ready to continue the joint work."

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