Assad's removal from power 'impossible': Russia
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Sunday said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's removal from power was not a part of past international agreements on the crisis and impossible to implement.
"This is a precondition that is not contained in the Geneva communique (agreed by world powers in June) and which is impossible to implement because it does not depend on anyone," news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.
Mr Lavrov conceded that a rare speech Assad delivered on Jan 6 laying out his own vision for a peace settlement probably did not go far anough and would not appease the armed opposition.
But he also urged Assad's enemies to come out with a counterproposal that could get serious peace talks started between the two sides for the first time.