Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the world that Syrians must decide their destiny by choosing their own leaders rather than wait for the West to dictate for them. The Russian leader was speaking during his annual news conference in Moscow on Dec. 17, 2015, where he answered wide-ranging questions from Russian and foreign journalists.
“It is up to the Syrian people to decide who they will be governed by,” said Putin. He went on to add that Russia support the U.S. and U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria. However, he added that “Syrians themselves” should craft their own constitution so as to pave way for elections in which they fully participate to decide their own destiny.
The Russian leader also took the opportunity to remind the world that his country is not the root cause of problems in Syria. “We did not start a war in Syria,” said Putin. He then reiterated his country stance on supporting the beleaguered Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. Putin said the Kremlin position on Assad will not change and his country will not agree to “outside forces deciding on who should govern Syria.”
Putin also took a swipe at Turkey for shooting down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber on Nov. 26, 2015. “It was an enemy act. They shot down our plane and killed our servicemen.” He said Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, should have apologized to the Russian people first before contacting NATO.
By Shepherd Mutsvara
Associated Press: Putin Says Syrian People Must Choose Leaders
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