A leading Syrian dissident has reported that Russia has told the Syrian opposition that Bashar Assad's nomination for another presidential term is not to be questioned, but that differences remain between Moscow and Washington on the date of a handover of power.
The dissident, who will attend a meeting on Friday between the leaders of the opposition and Russian officials in the Swiss capital of Geneva, said that "while Russia wants Assad to finish his term and handover power officially, with the guarantee that he will not be tried later, the U.S. insists on the necessity of his departure at the end of this year and on leaving the question of his trial to the transitional government, which is supposed to be formed as a result of the Geneva II conference.".
In an interview wiht the Italian news agency AKI, the dissident said that "the other problem between Russia and the U.S. relates to the authority of the President; Russia wants to keep the army under his command during the transitional period until the elections, and wants the opposition to control the Ministry of Interior, including the security and intelligence services, and wants the transitional government to restructure this ministry and its security agencies.".
The opposition source, who asked to remain anonymous, said he expected to know on Friday whether Russia and the U.S. have agreed on a date for Geneva II.
"We cannot confirm until the moment whether the two sides agreed on the date, but we can confirm that the parties have agreed on the need to hold the conference and the need to qualify the Syrian opposition politically prior to participation in the conference," he said.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer