The Chair of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko, has called the demand for the immediate departure of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad "unacceptable". The people of Syria, she insisted, should decide their own destiny through a democratic process.
Matviyenko made her comments during the Valdai Discussion Club's Forum in Moscow on Monday. Russia, she added, does not seek to impose its hegemony over the Middle East. "Moscow's main objective is to achieve sustainable development of this important region in the world."
The Russian politician, who is also Governor of Saint Petersburg, explained that this can be achieved through consensus among the forces involved in internal conflicts, as well as the contribution of regional and non-regional powers. She stressed that the UN must play a central role in this.
Moscow has never hidden its negative stance over the intervention in Iraq and the destruction of the Libyan state, or the fuelling of the civil war in Yemen, noted Matviyenko. The result of all of these interventions was increased suffering for the civilian population.
In closing, the Russian official stressed that the solution to the problem of terrorism in the Middle East can only be achieved through military and political cooperation with the United States. She added that Moscow is still ready to host direct talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis in order to move forward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict peace process.