World Bulletin / News Desk
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that if the Syrian rebels succeed in overthrowing the Assad government, the country will be dragged into a prolonged civil war.
“It may lead to a reverse situation, when the opposition becomes the government, and the government becomes the opposition... In such a case, there will be no telling how long the civil war might last", Putin told reporters after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Sochi.
The Russian leader called on the conflicting sides to reach a compromise.
“As for Syria’s incumbent government, it should bring itself to start negotiations that would result in mutually acceptable compromises for the benefit of the country. And so should the other side, so-called armed opposition,” Putin told reporters.
“We think the sequence should be as follows: first, there should be ceasefire. Violence from both sides has to stop. Then there should be talks to find a solution. It is necessary to determine the constitutional foundations of the future nation. And only after that structural reforms should take place – not vice versa. Otherwise, we think there will be chaos."
Prime Minister Monti said that a provisional government modeled on Lebanon's could be the best solution to the crisis in Syria.
He added that such a government should include all elements of Syrian society, and that Russia should support such a move once it goes through the UN.
"Passing this decision with the United Nations would not be possible without Russia’s facilitation", he added.