Putin says has no ‘right’ to ask Assad to leave power

Updated 14 November 2015
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Putin says has no ‘right’ to ask Assad to leave power

Moscow: President Vladimir Putin said in an interview released Friday that Russia has no “right” to ask Syrian leader Bashar Assad to leave power.
His remarks came just days before leaders from the world’s top 20 industrial powers gather in Turkey for a summit which begins Sunday and is likely to be dominated by the Syrian conflict.
But Putin, who hosted the embattled Syrian leader for surprise talks at the Kremlin last month, said Russia could not and would not ask him to quit.
“Let’s think just how legal and ethical our behavior would be if we invited to Moscow the head of a friendly state and at the same time raised the issue of him leaving power?
“Syria is a sovereign country, Bashar Assad is a president elected by the people. So do we have the right to discuss with him these issues? Of course not,” Putin said in an interview with the Interfax and Anatolia news agencies.
World powers are to hold another round of talks on the Syrian conflict in Vienna this weekend.
Putin reiterated that Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria would last for the duration of an offensive by the Syrian army.
“So the duration of our military’s stay will be determined solely by the implementation of this goal,” Putin said.
The Russian president also said the “possible risks and consequences” of Russia’s Syrian intervention have been addressed multiple times.
On September 30, Russia launched a bombing campaign in Syria, saying it needed to target Daesh jihadists, but the West has accused Moscow of seeking to prop up Assad’s regime and hitting moderate rebels.
A month later, an Airbus A321 charter plane carrying 224 people, mostly Russian tourists, crashed over Sinai, killing everyone on board.
The Daesh group claimed responsibility for the attack in an apparent act of revenge for Russia’s Syria intervention.
Sources close to the probe have told AFP that experts involved in the investigation “strongly favor” the theory of a bomb on board the plane but Moscow has not yet given any definitive cause for the disaster.
Separately, the Russian military said on Friday that its warplanes had struck 289 “terrorist” targets in 107 sorties over the past two days.
Moscow said it had destroyed 34 terrorist command center and three training camps, among other targets.


Tripoli ceasefire remains steadfast despite recent clashes: UN Libya envoy

Updated 10 min 39 sec ago
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Tripoli ceasefire remains steadfast despite recent clashes: UN Libya envoy

  • Fighting broke out this week between rival armed groups in the south of the capital

UNITED NATIONS: A cease-fire in Tripoli remains steadfast despite heavy recent clashes, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé told the Security Council on Friday.

Fighting broke out this week between rival armed groups in the south of the capital, breaching a shaky ceasefire brokered by the UN in September.

In a comprehensive bbriefing, Salamé said the UN mission in libya was cooperating with the Libyan Reconciliation Government to transfer control of prisons to the authority of the state, but armed groups are assuming responsibility for law enforcement rather than official Libyan bodies.
He also said new divisions emerge in Libya every day that should be dealt with.
Salamé said the country can not succeed without a united national leadership, calling on Libyan parties to cooperate constructively to approve and pass the UN backed constitution. Libya has been split between rival parliaments, one in tripoli and one in Benghazi, since a civil war erupted during the downfall of former ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
The UN envoy said “we need additional effort to establish a stable and prosperous economic system in Libya,” adding that the Libyan currency has gained stability, inflation has decreased and progress has been achieved in resolving the liquidity crisis.
He said the UN mission stressed the importance of allowing aid to civilians in Libya without hindrance, noting that all Libyans suffer from violations, violence and difficult humanitarian conditions.
“Without international support, the saboteurs will succeed in undermining the political process in Libya,” he added.
Finally, Salamé said they expect the UN office in Benghazi, in the east, to be reopened before the end of January