"Not only in private meetings but also in public comments, the
idea is occurring to some Western colleagues that ... Assad
remaining in office is less of a threat for Syria than a takeover of
the country by terrorists," Sergei Lavrov told RIA news agency in an
interview published on Friday.
Russia has been Assad's most important supporter during Syria's
civil war. It says his removal from power must not be a precondition
for holding peace talks.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Timothy Heritage)
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