Damascus: The Syrian State Television on Friday has rejected Russia’s claim that President Bashar-al Assad is ready to step down in a civilized manner and termed the claim as ‘baseless’, media reported on Friday.
Russian ambassador to France Aleksandr Orlov’s has claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready to step down but ‘in civilized manner, as baseless.
Ambassador Orlov told French RFI radio that Assad, facing a popular uprising against his rule, signalled readiness to step down when he accepted a recent international declaration which foresaw a transition towards a more democratic Syria.
“At the Geneva conference, there was a final communiqué that foresees a transition towards a more democratic system,” Orlov said. “This final communiqué was accepted by Assad. Assad nominated his representative to lead the negotiations with the opposition for this transition. That means he accepted to leave, but in an orderly way.”
Syria’s Information Ministry quickly denied this, saying Orlov’s remarks were “completely devoid of truth.”
Orlov further said his personal opinion Assad would not be able to remain in power. “I think it will be difficult for him to stay after everything that has happened. But essentially, he has accepted that he will have to leave.”
Russia on Thursday vetoed a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that would have contained a threat to impose sanctions if Syria did not comply with U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.
A senior Western diplomat recommended caution with respect to Orlov’s comments. “We have not heard Assad say he is willing to step down before,” the diplomat said. “But what does he mean? Does he mean now or in two years time. We have to be cautious.”