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You're reading: Russian envoy to France: Assad ready to step down

PARIS — Russia's ambassador to France says Moscow believes Syria's president is ready to step down "in a civilized way." But the Syrian government immediately denied it.

Alexandre Orlov told RFI on Friday that “personally … I think it will be difficult for him to stay in office given everything that’s happened.”

He noted that Assad accepted the final statement of the June 30 Geneva agreement for a transition “toward a more democratic regime” and in essence this meant that “he accepted to leave, but leave in a civilized way.”

Orlov’s statement came after Russia and China blocked a Security Council vote to turn up pressure on Assad and after an attack killed three top Syrian defense officials.

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