Russia: Calling Assad illegitimate is 'counterproductive'

MOSCOW - Statements from Western countries that President Bashar Assad's rule is illegitimate are counterproductive to establishing peace in Syria, Russia's envoy to the Middle East said on Friday.
"The Syrian people should determine who will lead their country and so the opinion of some of our foreign partners will hardly foster a solution," Mikhail Bogdanov, a deputy foreign minister, told a news conference.
He said declarations from other countries about Assad's illegitimacy and calls for him to step down "are counterproductive because they send the opposition a false signal that there is no sense in entering dialogue."