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Kremlin surprised over UK foreign chief’s change of stance on Russian pullout from Syria

The UK foreign policy chief compared Russia withdrawing its military contingent from Syria to a man stopping to beat his wife
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond  EPA/JAMAL NASRALLAH
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond unexplainably changed his assessment of the Russian troop pullout from Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

The presidential spokesman commented on a recent statement by the UK foreign policy chief in the British parliament who compared Russia withdrawing its military contingent from Syria to a man who had stopped beating his wife.

"I like more the statement Hammond made on the withdrawal of the Russian contingent from Syria on the eve of his speech in parliament. It was far more positive and more constructive. I don’t know what happened overnight and why he changed his point of view. One can only guess," the Kremlin spokesman said.

According to Peskov, on March 14, when information came about the start of the Russian troops’ pullout from Syria, Hammond posted a message in social networks where he noted that if this was real troop withdrawal and nothing else, it could have positive influence on the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

"This is a very restrained and constructive statement. But something happened overnight and this restraint transformed into such allegories," Peskov said.

Syria should remain united state

According to the spokesman, Syria should remain a unite country, and the issue of its administrative system should be decided by the peoples living there.

"The internal structure of the Syrian state is the concern of Syrians and this topic should be regulated on the basis of an inclusive process that brings together all denominations and ethnic groups living on the Syrian territories - be it Kurds or Sunnis or Alawites, Druze and so on," Peskov said.

"Only by a similar consensus," he added. Peskov reminded that Russia consistently promotes inclusion of Syrian Kurds in the Geneva talks. "Of course, it is important for Russia that Syria remains a united state," he concluded.