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Russian president says it was more difficult to shelter whistleblower Edward Snowden than it would be to welcome Syrian leader.

Source:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/12/putin-russia-assad-asylum-snowden

Russian president says it was more difficult to shelter whistleblower Edward Snowden than it would be to welcome Syrian leader. RFE/RL reports
Vladimir Putin (right) shakes hands with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in the Kremlin in October.

Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Bashar al-Assad in the Kremlin in October. Photograph: Alexei Druzhinin/AP

Russia could grant asylum to Bashar al-Assad if he is forced to leave Syria, Vladimir Putin suggested in an interview with the German tabloid Bild.

The Russian president said it was premature to discuss asylum, but added that it would be easier to welcome the Syrian leader than the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was given asylum in Russia in 2013.

“It was surely more difficult to grant Snowden asylum in Russia than it would be in the case of Assad,” the Russian president said in an interview published on Tuesday.

Putin said it was too early to say whether Russia would have to give shelter to Assad as part of a transition to a new government in Syria under the road map to a peace deal approved by most parties in the conflict last year.

“First, the Syrian population has to be able to vote, and then we will see if Assad would have to leave his country if he loses the election,” Putin said.

Putin admitted that he thought Assad had “done much wrong over the course of this conflict.”

But he added “the conflict would never have become so big if it had not been fuelled by outside of Syria – with weapons, money and fighters”.

Putin reiterated Russia’s position that it supported Assad, a longtime ally, in an effort to prevent Syria from becoming an ungovernable failed state.

Russia began carrying out air strikes on the positions of Islamic State (Isis) fighters in September in support of Assad’s army, which critics say are aimed against Assad’s opponents.

“We do not want Syria to end like Iraq or Libya,” Putin said. “Look at Egypt: one has to praise President [Abdel Fatah al] Sisi for taking over the responsibility and power in an emergency situation, in order to stabilise the country.”

Putin said the rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran that broke open last week has exposed a sectarian conflict that exists throughout the Middle East, and would make it more difficult to achieve peace in Syria.

“As for whether this will lead to a major regional clash, I do not know. I would rather not talk or even think in these terms,” he said.

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"Hidden manna from the promised "White Stone", Rev 2:17 P1446:5, 131:3.3 . . . It is evil to see sin where there is no sin; TO SEE NO SIN WHERE THERE IS SIN. Evil is the path of FALSE DOCTRINES. Those who avoid evil BY SEEING THINGS AS THEY ARE gain joy by thus embracing the truth. Make an end of your misery BY LOATHING SIN. When you look up to the Noble One, turn away from sin with a whole heart. Make no apology for evil; MAKE NO EXCUSE FOR SIN. By your efforts to make amends for past sins you acquire strength to resist future tendencies thereto. Restraint is born of repentance. Leave no fault unconfessed to the Noble One. 131:3.4 (1447.1) “Cheerfulness and gladness are the rewards of deeds well done and to the glory of the Immortal. No man can rob you of the liberty of your own mind. When the faith of your religion has emancipated your heart, when the mind, like a mountain, is settled and immovable, then shall the peace of the soul flow tranquilly like a river of waters. Those who are sure of salvation are forever free from lust, envy, hatred, and the delusions of wealth. While faith is the energy of the better life, nevertheless, must you work out your own salvation with perseverance. If you would be certain of your final salvation, then make sure that you sincerely seek to fulfill all righteousness. Cultivate the assurance of the heart which springs from within and thus come to enjoy the ecstasy of eternal salvation. ~~ Urantia Book Paper 131 ~~

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