Russia signals to Syria's Assad to stay silent on re-election

MOSCOW Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:14pm IST

A man walks through a graveyard that was damaged by what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Kadi Askar neighbourhood of Aleppo, December 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo

A man walks through a graveyard that was damaged by what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Kadi Askar neighbourhood of Aleppo, December 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mahmoud Hebbo

Related Topics

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian diplomat signalled on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should refrain from statements suggesting he might seek re-election because it could fuel tension before planned peace talks.

Russia has been Assad's most important international ally during Syria's civil war, but the remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to Interfax news agency appeared to be a rare public criticism of Assad by Moscow.

Assad told Syria's Al Mayadeen television in October that he had no intention of quitting, despite pressure to do so from the United States and rebels fighting government forces. He also saw no obstacles to being nominated for a new term.

"Such rhetorical statements affect the atmosphere and do not make the situation any calmer," Bogdanov was quoted as saying.

Looking ahead to an international peace conference which is planned on Syria next month in Geneva, he said: "Our position is that ahead of the start of negotiations, there should be no remarks that could displease anyone or provoke emotions and a response. They should rather be avoided."

Bogdanov has been involved in preparations for the peace talks that are due to start in Geneva on Jan 22.

Russia has blocked Western-backed efforts to condemn Assad at the U.N. 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.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pro-Democracy Protests

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ebola in U.S.

Ebola in U.S.

Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital  Full Article 

Fighting Islamic State

Fighting Islamic State

Turkey vows to fight Islamic State, coalition strikes near border.  Full Article 

'Ground Zero'

'Ground Zero'

Concerns, questions as Dallas becomes 'ground zero' for Ebola in U.S.  Full Article 

Security Lapse

Security Lapse

U.S. Secret Service director resigns under fire  Full Article 

Road Offences

Road Offences

France's Le Pen loses driving licence, but says not her fault.  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Israel's Netanyahu to Obama: Don't allow Iran deal that leaves it at nuclear threshold.  Full Article 

Germany Politics

Germany Politics

German defence crisis puts potential Merkel successor in hot seat .  Full Article 

Peace Conference

Peace Conference

Nobel Laureates condemn South Africa visa denial to Dalai Lama.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage