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Russian envoy comments on opposition’s demand for Assad’s exit

November 28, 13:34 UTC+3

Russia's UN envoy calls the document adopted by the Syrian opposition at its Riyadh meeting, which contains a demand for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation, 'contradictory'

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

GENEVA, November 28. /TASS/. Russia has called on partners in Geneva to bring the Syrian opposition down to earth as its demand that President Bashar Assad must go does not contribute to a constructive dialogue, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Geneva office and other Geneva-based International Organizations Alexei Borodavkin said.

"All this is very alarming and will hardly contribute to a constructive dialogue in Geneva," Borodavkin said. "During the meeting (of representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) Russia turned to its partners at the UN and Western delegations, which have influence on the opposition, so that they try to bring the opposition down to earth as their position is not in line with the real situation," he said.

The document adopted by the Syrian opposition at its Riyadh meeting, which contains a demand for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation, is contradictory, he went on. 

"The document that opposition adopted in Riyadh, cited by the opposition delegation which has arrived in Geneva, is very contradictory," Borodavkin said. "On the one hand, the document says that the opposition is not setting any preconditions, but on the other hand, there is a demand for Bashar al-Assad’s resignation in the very beginning of the transition period. What is that if not a precondition?" the Russian envoy said.

"They also demand that Iranian militia units lave Syria, which is also unrealistic," Borodavkin pointed out. "It is unclear how the opposition members plan to hold talks with representatives of the Syrian government if the delegation coming from Riyadh views them almost as criminals with whom it is impossible to talk," he added.

Moscow believes the decision by the Syrian government delegation to travel to Geneva for the eighth round of the intra-Syrian consultations was the right move. "That’s the right decision. It’s very good that the Syrian government delegation will come to Geneva, because this will make it possible for Damascus representatives to express their point of view and come up with the relevant assessments," the diplomat stressed.

Earlier reports said that, because of the opposition’s demands seeking the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the beginning of the transition period, the official Damascus delegation put off its visit to the November 28 negotiations. UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, confirmed on Tuesday that the Syrian government representatives would arrive in Geneva on November 29.

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