MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. The Kremlin insists that Syria’s future political system is to be decided by the citizens of that country despite the various expert opinions on that matter voiced today, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
"It is obvious that active exchange of opinions on possible options for political settlement [in Syria] is underway now at the expert level. Such exchange of opinion is rather intense," he told journalists, commenting on reports about the talks Russia is holding with Western countries on Syria’s future political system.
Peskov stressed that exchange of expert opinions should not be interpreted as talks. "It should not be presented as some meaningful talks on that subject. These are exchanges of expert opinions held in various formats, and not only by Russia or only on that subject," he said.
"Both the format of Syria’s political system and the format of Syria’s authorities are the issues that are to be decided by the Syrians," the Kremlin spokesman said. "Only the Syrians themselves can take a legitimate decision about their future."
"The cornerstone for the overwhelming majority of countries, including Russia, is to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity," Peskov underscored. "It is politically important for the entire region."
He noted that Russia relies on participation of Syrian representatives in the next round of United Nation-brokered talks due to begin on March 14. "Naturally, all rely on participation of all parties concerned," he added.