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Senior Russian diplomat notes shifts in US stance on Assad's destiny

May 10, 2016, 8:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, ashar Assad's withdrawal from power is not a condition for talks on peace settlement in Syria

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MOSCOW, May 10. /TASS/. Certain shifts are noticeable in the United States' stand on the destiny of Syrian President Bashar Assad but Washington continues insisting on his departure from power after the process of negotiations is over, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in an interview with Izvestia daily published on Tuesday.

"Certain shifts do exist on this issue but we must admit for truth's sake the Americans continue claiming he [Assad] has no political future and hence he must go," Gatilov said. "Along with it, they try to press us into stating the importance of his resignation at the end of the talks and into the necessity of a transition period."

He indicated however that Assad's withdrawal from power was not a condition for talks on peace settlement in Syria anymore while previously the Americans insisted on the impossibility of any negotiations until Assad left.

On the face of it, Russia continued saying the prerogative to decide on the president's destiny belonged to the Syrian people.

"The parties to the talks should decide on Assad's destiny in the context of the same talks and on the condition all the political forces present in Syria will be sitting at the conference table, the forces that have the right to make decisions on their country's future," Gatilov said.

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