No hope Assad will leave, Russian says

Insistence that exit precede talks will lead to more lives lost, he states

Posted: December 30, 2012 at 4:01 a.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) meets Saturday in Moscow with U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who warned of the danger of “panic in Damascus.”

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Saturday that there was “no possibility” of persuading President Bashar Assad to leave Syria, leaving little hope for a breakthrough in the standoff. He also said opposition leaders’ insistence on Assad’s departure as a precondition for peace talks would come at the cost of “more and more lives of Syrian citizens” in a conflict that has already killed tens of thousands.

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Front Section, Pages 1 on 12/30/2012