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
"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.
has been Assad's most important supporter during
's civil war, blocking Western-backed efforts to condemn
Assad at the UN Security Council or to push him out of power.
says it is not trying to prop up Assad but that his
departure cannot be a precondition for peace moves.