In rare speech, Assad rejects dialogue with Syria ‘puppet’ opposition


Reuters and DPA
Jan 6, 2013

Syrian President Bashar Assad announced what he described as a peace plan on Sunday, calling for a reconciliation conference with “those who have not betrayed Syria”, to be followed by the formation of a new government and an amnesty.

“The first stage of a political solution would require that regional powers stop funding and arming (the opposition), an end to terrorist operations and controlling the borders,” he said in a speech in central Damascus, his first public comments in months.

“We will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West,” he said.

Speaking before cheering supporters at the Opera House in central Damascus, Assad said that rebels fighting to overthrow his regime were “terrorists” and “criminals” who harbor al-Qaida’s extremist ideology. He vowed to defeat the rebellion.

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