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Opposition’s demand of Assad’s immediate resignation absurd - Russian envoy to Geneva

February 23, 16:34 updated at: February 23, 16:58 UTC+3

Alexei Borodavkin said that Moscow has reserve attitudes to the US ideas regarding security zones in Syria

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Alexei Borodavkin

Alexei Borodavkin

© Boris Kavashkin/TASS

GENEVA, February 23. /TASS/. Moscow calls absurd the Syrian opposition's demand for Assad's immediate resignation, Russia's envoy to international representations in Geneva Alexei Borodavkin said on Thursday.

"It (position of the Syrian governmental delegation) is contrast to what we hear from the opposition representatives, who are coming from Riyadh, and who name, once again, the precondition that Syria's President Bashar Assad should resign," he said.

Security zones

Moscow has reserve attitudes to the US ideas regarding security zones in Syria, Borodavkin said.

"First of all, it is not clear what it is," the diplomat said. "Secondly, first of all it is necessary to address the Syrian government and to ask whether it agrees to have some security zones organized in its territory."

"As for the technical aspect, it is an endless list of questions, problems and the rest," he said. "I have not seen anywhere a ready concept of this suggestion. I also have may questions to the US and Turkish counterparts regarding this topic.".

EU could help Syria’s restoration

The planning of Syria’s restoration should begin immediately and the European Union could play a major role in this process, Borodavkin said.

"The European Union could have given major assistance to Syria," he said.

Russia expects during the Geneva talks, the parties would begin working on Syria's future constitution, Russia's envoy said.

"We hope for progress in work on constitution during this round of talks," he said, adding back in April 2016 the UN Secretary General's envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura published a document demonstrating common approaches from parties to the talks to the Syrian settlement.

Damascus delegation arrives with constructive instructions

The Damascus delegation has arrived in Geneva having constructive instructions, with the objective to reach progress, Russian envoy said.

"Yesterday, I had a meeting with leader of the Syrian governmental delegation Bashar Jaafari; the contact, like always, was friendly, it was a conversation of like-minded people," the Russian diplomat said. "I would like to stress with satisfaction that the delegation of the Syrian government has arrived in Geneva having constructive instructions, with the objective to reach progress.".

Termination of airstrikes in Syria in line with ceasefire

The termination of airstrikes in Syria is in line with the ceasefire effective for the groups, which have joined it, Alexei Borodavkin said in a comment on the UN Secretary General's special envoy Staffan de Mistura, about Russia calling on the Syrian government to stop the air strikes for the time of the intra-Syrian talks.

"As for the airstrikes, the ceasefire means they would not be delivered on the oppositional groups, which had joined the ceasefire," the Russian diplomat said. "This obligation is observed both by the Russian Aerospace Force, and by the Syrian Air Force, but, of course, this is not effective against terrorist groups: first of all Daish (the Arabic name of the Islamic State terrorist group outlawed in Russia - TASS), and Jabhat Al-Nusra, (outlawed in Russia) as well as groups and gang affiliated with them.".

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