Russia denies agreement with US on ousting Syria’s Assad

Moscow, March 31 (IANS) Russia on Thursday denied media reports that Moscow and Washington had reached an agreement on ousting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

“The difference between the Russian side and other countries lies in the fact that Russia does not discuss the issue of self-determination of third countries, including Syria, via diplomatic or other channels,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“The al-Hayat newspaper has published information that does not correspond to reality,” Peskov was quoted as saying by Tass news agency.

The London-based newspaper recently quoted diplomatic sources in the UN Security Council, saying US Secretary of State John Kerry told leaders of several Arab countries that Russia and the United States had reached an understanding that Assad would leave his post and move to another country in the process of peaceful settlement in Syria.

Russian officials have refused to exclude Assad from his country’s process of political settlement, saying Syrians themselves should decide the future of their country.

Russia has been supporting the Assad government in Syria, while the United States and its allies have insisted that Assad step down.

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