‘No end to Syria crisis without Assad’

Damascus, Oct 28 (IANS) A French legislator has said that there will be no solution to the four-and-a-half-year-old crisis in Syria in the absence of President Bashar al-Assad, the media reported on Wednesday.

Opposition lawmaker Jean-Frederic Poisson, who was in Syria heading a delegation of French legislators, made the remark on Tuesday after meeting Syria’s Parliament Speaker Jihad al-Laham, reports Press TV.

“The settlement of the Syrian political situation necessarily requires a dialogue with the Syrian president who is in place and is elected by the Syrian people,” Poisson from the Christian Democratic Party said, adding, “It is not for foreign countries to decide who must lead Syria, it is for the Syrians to decide.”

Laham noted that Syria’s sovereignty and independence should be maintained by the Syrian government, emphasizing that foreign states do not have the right to interfere in Syria’s affairs and “support the opposition with arms and through media and financing, because this would be a violation of the international law and the national laws”.

Poisson further stressed that he would explain to people in France that there are “other policies and alliances that could meet our interests”.

He also expressed the hope that the French government would reopen its embassy in Damascus.

The French delegation was expected to meet President Assad on Wednesday. Poisson had met President Assad during an earlier visit in July.

France was among the western countries supporting the militants fighting against the Syrian government. It closed its embassy in 2012 to express opposition to the government of President Assad.

Syria has been gripped by Islamist militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the UN.

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