Russia says West is increasingly wary of Assad ouster by Islamists

By REUTERS
December 20, 2013 16:26




Western diplomats are increasingly saying that President Bashar Assad keeping power is a better option for Syria than his overthrow by Islamist militants, Russia's foreign minister was quoted as saying on Friday.

"Not only in private meetings but also in public comments, the idea is occurring to some Western colleagues that...Assad remaining in office is less of a threat for Syria than a takeover of the country by terrorists," Sergei Lavrov told RIA news agency in an interview published on Friday.




Russia has been Assad's most important supporter during Syria's civil war, blocking Western-backed efforts to condemn Assad at the UN Security Council or to push him out of power.




Moscow says it is not trying to prop up Assad but that his departure cannot be a precondition for peace moves.



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