Syrian reconstruction not feasible with Assad, says Italy

Indo Asian News Service

Rome, April 12 (IANS/AKI) War-wracked Syria cannot be rebuilt while President Bashar al-Assad is still in power, Italy's Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano told the Senate on Wednesday, stressing the key role of diplomacy in preventing a military escalation in the region.

"Whether or not Assad stays in power impacts on the security and stability of Syria and also the prospects for its reconstruction," Alfano said.

"One cannot contemplate the rebuilding phase while Assad kills his own people and while bombs keep falling," he added.

In his Senate address, a day after the G7 summit held in Italy, Alfano underlined the need to revive stalled peace talks between Syria's warring sides as a key step towards a negotiated political solution in which he said Russia and Iran would play an "inevitable" role.

"We need to urge (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to put pressure on Assad to respect a ceasefire in a real and lasting way that meets the basic conditions to re-start talks.

"This is what came out of the G7 - recognising Russia's inevitable role and strategic interests in Syria without antagonising it or shoving it into a corner," Alfano added.

Another strategic ally of Assad's, Iran is also an "unavoidable" player in the devastating Syrian conflict and its resolution, he said, adding the G7 meeting "agreed it was opportune to keep in contact with another unavoidable actor in Syria - Iran."