Russia Syria G8

The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Ryabkov, said there are high chances that a solid statement on Syria will released by the end of the second day of G8 summit, according to our Voice of Russia correspondent. But he rejected mention of al-Assad's future in the final statement. Ryabkov said that progress had been made on Syria at the G8 summit, including agreement on the proposed Geneva-2 international conference. No further consultations on the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria are being planned between Russia and the United States, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov. "As you know, an exchange of views has taken place already. Nothing else is being planned thus far," he told reporters. Ryabkov however reiterated Russia's stance that the Syrian people alone could decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. "The last word... on how this will be proceeding rests with the Syrians," he told reporters. He said any statement on the Syrian presdient's future in the G8's final communique would upset the political balance being formed for the Syrian settlement. "This would be unacceptable for the Russian side. Moreover, this would-be absolutely wrong, and in our opinion, fully upset the political balance being formed with such difficulty in the interests of maintaining a reasonable process,"Ryabkov said in Lough Erne. Giving up power would be "betrayal" - Assad Meanwhile, quitting power while his government battles a countrywide uprising would be a "national betrayal," Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has told a German newspaper in an interview. "If I decided to leave office under these circumstances, it would be national betrayal. But it's another question if that's what the people want," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "Elections or a referendum are the way to know if the people want you to quit your post," said Assad. His remarks were published in full on state news agency SANA a day after the German daily published extracts from the interview. Assad's departure has been a key demand since the early days of the uprising that began in March 2011 with peaceful demonstrations, before devolving into a brutal armed conflict. (Voice of Russia, AFP)

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