Italy backs dialogue with Assad



Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "can still be an interlocutor" in ending the country's almost eight-year-old civil war and in its transition to democracy, Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said.

"The crucial thing is that the brutal phase (of the conflict) is followed by peace which is immediately accompanied by democratisation," Moavero said on Tuesday.

"This is also a topic that we are following at European level and on which we are moving together with our partners," Moavero said.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference on Mediterranean dialogue taking place at Rome's private Luiss private university.

A constitutional committee is expected to be formed at the next round of peace talks - chaired by Turkey and by its Syria's allies Russia and Iran - being held in Astana on November 28-29, according to observers. 

Sweeping battlefield developments over the past 10 months have greatly weakened the Syrian opposition and its demands for constitutional restrictions on presidential powers and terms of office, say analysts. -IANS