Medvedev Says Assad Committed 'Grave, Perhaps Fatal Error' by Delaying Reforms

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

President Bashar Assad's chances of political survival are shrinking by the day, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev charged on Sunday, accusing the embattled Syrian leader of making a possibly fatal error in delaying reforms.

"He should have acted much more quickly and reached out to the peaceful opposition which was ready to sit at the negotiating table with him," Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.

"It's a grave error on his part, perhaps fatal," he said in an unusually harsh statement about Assad by Syria's traditional ally Moscow.

"It seems to me that his chances of staying (in power) are shrinking day by day," Medvedev said in remarks to CNN television on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland, according to the Russian agencies.

He reiterated Russia's position that only the Syrian people can decide the fate of Assad, whose departure the West has long called for in the face of the near two-year long conflict in Syria.

"I repeat once again: It is for the Syrian people to decide. Not Russia or the United States or any other country."

Moscow has long opposed any foreign intervention in the brutal conflict that the United Nations says has killed at least 60,000 people since March 2011, and along with China has blocked U.N. resolutions aimed at resolving the crisis.

Nevertheless, Russia has tried on several occasions to dissuade Assad from pursuing the conflict, Medvedev said.

"I personally a few times called Assad and said, You need to start reforms, you need to sit at the negotiating table," according to the CNN transcript.

"In my view, unfortunately, the Syrian authorities turned out not to be ready for this."

When asked if Russia had an interest in removing Assad to preserve its own borders from trouble, Medvedev replied: "We never said that our goal was to preserve the current political regime, or making sure that President Assad stays in power."

Russia was not "an exclusive ally of Syria or President Assad," he said.

"We had good relations with his father and him, but he had much closer allies among the European states."

Now, he said, both the government and the opposition had a responsibility to instigate dialogue to end the war.

As Syria's only powerful ally, Russia has used its veto at the U.N. Security Council to block resolutions demanding that Assad step down and instead consistently pushed for reconciliation.

Syria's deputy prime minister Qadri Jamil told Russian radio on Saturday that Syria was still receiving weapons from Russia under contracts signed long ago.

Comments 16
Thumb andre.jabbour 27 January 2013, 19:08

Medvedev is absolutely right. Yet here's not visionary, he's just clearvoyant, realistic. The Lebanese shabiha that help Bashar will die with him.

Missing mohammad_ca 27 January 2013, 19:09

political reform is over 40 years too late in Syria

Missing gabby14 27 January 2013, 19:19

My speculation is that Russia knows he used chemical weapons too. That is the part he is not saying. Because of this it feels like the Russians have made a deal and sold Bashar. The base and the drilling rights have probably been worked out. Seems like something big is going to break against ASSad soon. He even moved his evil witch mother to the gulf now too.

Missing rafehh 27 January 2013, 19:26

QI hope that Assad will be gone soon and syria can move toward a democratic pluralistic system. I am afraid, however, is that Dr Hyde will not leave anything left standing by the time he is gone. "Assad or we will burn the country" is their moto.

Thumb shab 27 January 2013, 19:38

lool good one

Thumb shab 27 January 2013, 19:39

It will be long and bloody, but the m.f. will fall

Missing sanctify 27 January 2013, 19:45

Unfortunately, there's still no commitment by the west to oust Assad. They probably are not sure of the outcome of such a change yet.

Default-user-icon Skyfall (Guest) 27 January 2013, 20:47

Medvedev's comments say it all, specially in Russia where freedom of speech is controlled. He is putin's puppet and will not say anything if it doesnt come from the kremlin directly. But sadly, it is just an attempt by Putin to show Russia doesnt support Bachar's barbaric methods but still supports that he stays president . It is only a political game

Missing helicopter 27 January 2013, 21:19

My dear and concern is not how it will end in Syria but what will that mean for the Lebanese. During Bashar's regime the M8 crowd drew strength from his regime to crush their opponents M14. Will the M14 crowd do the same if the Rebels (FSA/Islamists/etc.) win? Or will they travel the high road and reach out to the other side for true reconciliation and healing so we can move forward as one united people and not remain forever betting on outsiders to gain the upper hand against our fellow Lebanese. Yes Hezb needs to give up the arms to the State, draft non-sectarian laws, strengthen our army, demarcate our borders and place our citizenship above our religious and sectarian divides. We need to learn to compromise when we are strong and not proceed to crush the other side at every opportunity.

Missing samiam 27 January 2013, 21:36

And, within a couple of days, this story will be denied someone else in the Russian government....

Missing youssefhaddad 27 January 2013, 22:14

A question to this genius: Wouldn't an early on UN resolution that was obstructed by Russia have forced Assad to negotiate as you suggested.

Thumb andre.jabbour 28 January 2013, 00:58

They're all one same person.

Thumb beiruti 28 January 2013, 01:10

Russia has cut the boy loose, which means that Iran has reached the end of its line of credit to buy weapons for Assad. The dye is cast and the end is very near. Mama Assad went out the back door to the Persian Gulf, and the Russions are headed out the side door through Beirut. Time for Berri and Hasouna to find a new sugar daddy

Thumb rover98 28 January 2013, 03:04

Who gave Russia the right to meddle in the affairs of Arabs who watch everyday as more innocent people are butchered by Assad and his Shite Allies who supported the Arab Spring till it reached Syria then it become a 'Conspiracy' against the "resistance"

Missing whyaskwhy 28 January 2013, 07:04

You dont say Mehdev quite a revealing thought! loooool Truth be said though there are many supporters of Bashar that would be further confused by this! looooooool

Thumb min-canada 28 January 2013, 11:37

Words said on American TV for American consumption. I will believe it when I see real signs of policy change