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

Updated 14 November 2015

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.


Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

Updated 22 October 2020

Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

  • Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government
  • Both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues

LONDON: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson discussed security challenges in the Middle East on Thursday.
A-Khadimi met the UK leader at Downing Street as part of an a European tour. 
Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government as they discussed economic reforms, the coronavirus pandemic and the continued effort to defeat Daesh.
The Twitter account of Al-Kadhimi's office said both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues in Iraq and the region. 
They also agreed on more cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“It was agreed to increase more cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, as well as in the political and economic sectors, in light of the economic challenges that Iraq faces,” his office said.
Prior to his UK trip, Al-Kadhimi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
During these visits, Al-Kadhimi discussed Iraq’s main challenges such as the fight against terrorism and foreign interference in its affairs.
The Iraqi leader, who became prime minister in May, has a particularly affinity with the UK, having lived there for many years after fleeing Iraq in the 1980s.