You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • White House fence jumper charged with assault
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday.
  • Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking
     RICHMOND, Va. – Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is snuffing out smoking in its offices and buildings.
  • 'Outsourcing' changes Georgia race in closing days
     MARIETTA, Ga. – Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn has spent the past month hammering away at Republican David Perdue’s career as a business executive, making a dispute over his role in outsourcing jobs the hallmark of her
Advertisement

Assad to ‘stay to the end,’ Russian official asserts

– Russia’s foreign minister said Saturday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has no intention of stepping down and it would be impossible to try to persuade him otherwise.

After a meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.’s envoy for the Syrian crisis, Sergey Lavrov also said that the Syrian opposition risks sacrificing many more lives if it continues to insist on Assad leaving office as a precondition for holding talks on Syria’s future.

Assad “has repeatedly said publicly and privately, including in his meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus not long ago, that he does not intend to leave for anywhere, that he will stay to the end in his post, that he will, as he expressed it, defend the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so forth,” Lavrov said. “There’s no possibility to change this position.”

Brahimi warned that the country’s civil war could plunge the entire region into chaos by sending hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring nations, but his talks in Moscow produced no sign of progress toward settling the crisis.

Brahimi and Lavrov both said after their meeting that the 21-month-old Syrian conflict can only be settled through talks, while admitting that the parties in the conflict have shown no desire for compromise.

Neither official hinted at a possible solution that would persuade the Syrian government and the opposition to agree to a cease-fire and sit down for talks about a political transition.

Brahimi, who arrived in Moscow on a one-day trip following his talks in Damascus with Assad last week, voiced concern about the escalation of the conflict, which he said is becoming “more and more sectarian.”

The envoy warned that “if you have a panic in Damascus and if you have 1 million people leaving Damascus in a panic, they can go to only two places – Lebanon and Jordan,” and those countries may not be able to endure half a million refugees each.

Brahimi said that “if the only alternative is really hell or a political process, then we have got all of us to work ceaselessly for a political process.”

Russia has been the main supporter of Assad’s regime since the uprising began in March 2011, using its veto at the U.N. Security Council along with China to shield its last Mideast ally from international sanctions.

Lavrov said Russia would continue to oppose any U.N. resolution that would call for international sanctions against Assad and open the way for a foreign intervention in Syria.

And while he again emphasized that Russia “isn’t holding onto Bashar Assad,” he added that Moscow continues to believe the opposition demand for his resignation as a precondition for peace talks is “counterproductive.”

“The price for that precondition will be the loss of more Syrian lives,” Lavrov said.

Advertisement