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Lavrov: Assad is legitimate leader despite West’s claims

September 01, 2015, 10:18 UTC+3

Sergey Lavrov compared the situation around Bashar Assad to that around Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi

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© Oksaba Toskic/TASS

MOSCOW, September 1. /TASS/. The Russian top diplomat noted that Syrian President Bashar Assad is legitimate despite the claims of Western politicians, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told students and lecturers of the International State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Tuesday.

"Now they are trying like previously for eliminating Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi to give the top priority on Syria to the resignation of Bashar Assad saying he is illegitimate. But he is very legitimate," Lavrov stressed.

"The demand for Assad’s resignation as a precondition for the struggle against terrorism is completely unrealistic and counterproductive," Lavrov said at the International State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in Moscow on Tuesday.

"This demand is currently present in the position of a whole range of our partners," he added.

"We will be able to work efficiently should this demand be lifted," Lavrov said. The initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin is aimed at this, the minister reminded.

Destruction of Palmyra temple undermines basis of universal human culture

The Russian top diplomat noted that the activities of terrorists in the Middle East are undermining the basis of universal human culture.

"Destruction of cultural and historical monuments in Iraq and recently in Syria’s Palmyra shows that those people do not only strive for power on large territories, but also conscientiously undermine the very basis of universal human culture," Lavrov said. "In this situation, the most pressing issue is to protect cultural objects on the basis of the corresponding UN charter. I think we need to develop concrete steps in UNESCO to secure that position of the international community," he added.

Answering a question on whether the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization will be defeated, Lavrov said that this issue "directly depends on whether all those who do not accept IS’ ideology and practice can effectively cooperate in the direction of uniting efforts."

"It is necessary to fight this evil, but to fight it consistently and avoiding double standards," Lavrov noted. "We initially warned that flirting with extremists in order to reach selfish geopolitical goals will not lead to anything good," he stressed.

"We call for putting aside egotistical concerns. The disunity of countries may have a bad result," Lavrov told students and lecturers of the International State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). "More and more politicians recognize that terrorism is growing bigger as a threat," he added.

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