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Federal government may work for Syria: Double-faced Russia

1 March 2016 7:31



Russia has suggested that a federal state may be a suitable government model to preserve Syria’s unity and sovereignty.

 “If as a result of talks, consultations and discussions on Syria’s future state order… they come to an opinion that namely this (federal) model will work to serve the task of preserving Syria as a united, secular, independent and sovereign nation, then who will object to this?” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov during a press conference in Moscow on Monday.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has announced the reconvening of peace talks between warring factions on March 7 on condition that a current cessation of hostilities generally holds.

Syrian government forces advance on a road through the town of Khanasser, which is the sole link between government-held areas in and around Aleppo and those in the rest of the country on February 29, 2016. (AFP)

The last round of Syria talks were halted on February 3 less than a week after they started as the foreign-backed opposition refused to continue the discussions.

Ryabkov also stated that Russia would accept “any other model for Syria, provided it is not written to someone’s dictation somewhere 1,000 kilometers away from Syria.”

During an interview with Russian media in September, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad referred to the possibility of a federal government – a political system in which power is divided between a strong national government and smaller local governments.

“When the Syrian people agree on taking steps of this kind, which have to do with federalism, autonomy, decentralization, or changing the whole political system, this needs to be agreed upon by the Syrian people, and consequently amending the constitution,” he said.

A ceasefire agreed by the US and Russia took effect in Syria on February 27 midnight Damascus time. The Syrian government also accepted the terms of the truce on condition that military efforts against Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and the al-Nusra Front militants continue.

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