December 11, 2015 / 9:30 AM / in 3 years

Russia says up to Syrians to discuss Assad's fate

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday it was up to the Syrian people to discuss the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, commenting on a Syrian opposition statement issued after two days of talks in Riyadh.

A photo of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen along a street in old Homs city May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

The conference in Saudi Arabia of political activists and rebel groups agreed on Thursday to set up a joint body to prepare for proposed peace talks with Assad’s government but insisted that he leaves office.

“The fate of Assad should be discussed by Syrians themselves, not Russia,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

“Now efforts are focused on drawing up the lists of who to recognize as terrorist organizations, who to consider moderate opposition which can and should be part of the political settlement... Disagreements among certain countries exist. Positions are getting closer,” he said.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; writing by Maria Kiselyova; editing by Christian Lowe

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