According to the Russian foreign minister, the West has realized there's no point in demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stepping down. © AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
According to the Russian foreign minister, the West has realized there’s no point in demanding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stepping down. © AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Western countries have realized that issuing an ultimatum on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s stepping down, expecting this would settle problems in the country, are futureless, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

The top diplomat recalled President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the UN General Assembly and his asking foreign partners if they realized what they had done.

“The answer to the question starts arriving. The reaction to developments in Syria has started changing after the UN General Assembly, after its main part in which heads of state, government and foreign ministers took part,” he stated.

He said the changes could be seen in enthusiasm over the idea to hold full-format multilateral talks on Syria.

“Up until recently, our western partners were not willing to create an inclusive circle of external players, but two meetings of the international Syrian Support Group, which represents all neighbours of Syria and all countries that can in one way or another influence the situation, have been held in the recent month,” he continued.

He emphasized the fact that the passing of “two documents that are consensual and state the principles Russia has been consistently advancing since the Syrian crisis began, testify to the fact that our western partners have realized hopelessness of the stance many of them adhered to,” referring to the ultimatum that Bashar Al-Assad should step down.

Attitude to Syria’s Assad irrelevant for IS terrorists pursuing their own goals

According to the minister, the attitude of a particular country towards the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad has no importance for the Islamic State terrorist organization.

The Russian Aerospace Force is carrying out its operation in Syria “on the invitation and at the request of Assad” while the US-led coalition “is acting in the Syrian Arab Republic without the invitation of the legitimate government and without the UN Security Council’s mandate,” Lavrov said.

“Although the Americans and their NATO partners and other coalition members are acting without the international legal base in Syria, we have said that we’re ready to coordinate our efforts in the interests of the struggle against terrorism and we have offered a sufficiently profound degree of interaction,” the Russia foreign minister said.

“The US side has only agreed to an arrangement required to avoid air incidents between our Air Force and the US aviation and has rejected deep coordination,” Lavrov said.

The United States kept saying until now that “only after resolving the issue of when specifically, exactly and surely Assad will give up his post, it will be possible to organize coordination in the struggle against the IS,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“Assad is called a magnet, which attracts all terrorists. If this logic is followed, then it turns out that not only Assad is a magnet for the IS [terrorist organization outlawed in Russia]. Lebanon, Turkey, France and Egypt have also become magnets for the IS,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“But if we recall that France and Turkey always insisted most toughly on the immediate departure of Bashar Assad, then the logic ‘remove Assad and the IS will calm down,’ holds no ground at all,” Lavrov said.

“The Islamic State is trying to achieve its goals of creating the so-called caliphate without any relation to what is taking place in Syria and without any relation to who and how treats Bashar Assad,” the Russian foreign minister said.

According to the official, the decision of Russia and France on cooperation in Syria indicates that sober-minded politicians realize that it is necessary to put aside minor things and focus on confronting the Islamic State.

“I believe the call of President Francois Hollande to President Vladimir Putin after the terrible terrorist attacks in Paris, his offer to coordinate our efforts and the president’s response, which expressed willingness to do so on the allied basis, all that indicates that now sensible politicians are leaving aside the minor things and realize there is a need focus on the main priority – to terminate the pretensions of ISIL to win bridgeheads on the vast territory around the globe,” the minister said.