DAMASCUS, February 8. /TASS/. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stated that Damascus is ready for direct talks with representatives of all the opposition groups, including armed ones, member of the Russian State Duma Committee for Defense Dmitry Sablin told reporters on Wednesday following a meeting with Assad.
"He [Assad] said that Syria was ready for direct talks with all the opposition representatives, including the armed opposition," said Sablin, coordinator of the State Duma group for contacts with the Syrian parliament.
"President Bashar al-Assad supports our efforts in Astana," the lawmaker has also noted.
Things in Syria have been moving in a direction acceptable for both Damascus and Moscow, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated at a meeting with Russian lawmakers:
"Things have been moving rapidly, in the direction that is acceptable for both our countries."
The Kurds issue
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has indicated that the country’s authorities are ready to discuss Syria’s political structure with the Kurds, Russian lawmaker Alexander Yushchenko said following a meeting with the Syrian leader.
"President Assad has made it clear that if the Kurds have their own view of the future political structure, then the authorities are ready for dialogue," said Yushchenko, who is a member of the Russian State Duma Committee for contacts with the Syrian parliament.
According to the Russian lawmaker, the Syrian president emphasized that Damascus had been maintaining good relations with the Kurds.
He also said that Damascus was not an enemy of the Kurdish people, Yushchenko noted.
President Bashar Assad said that Syria’s authorities have to adapt to the new reality in the country, Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov told reporters after meeting with the Syrian leader.
"Now it’s time for the most important stage after the armed conflict settlement. He [Bashar Assad] stressed the importance of reforms, saying that the government and the regime in general need to adapt and transform amid new realities to justify the new hopes of citizens," Gavrilov said.
The Syrian president called to switch from a local ceasefire to intense contacts, the lawmaker said. "He backed our initiative that for turning activists of the armed opposition into the participants of economic activity, they need to be involved in economic integration, the political process and the implementation of a range of public projects," Gavrilov stressed.
Assad also backed the initiative of the Russian lawmakers that building a civil society is the key task for today and tomorrow.
The Syrian leader also thanked Russia for its assistance and support in building modern democratic institutions, including talks with the political opposition. "Assad confessed that he highly assessed the role of talks of [Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry] Rogozin here, saying that this is a serious achievement."
Assad noted that the Syrian side hopes that "serious changes" are expected in the issues concerning the Tartus port city, oil and gas production and transportation, Gavrilov said.