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MOSCOW, January 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Syrian opposition on Sunday rejected President Bashar al-Assad’s new peace initiative, including a national reconciliation conference and a new government.
Louay Safi, a member of the Syrian National Coalition, dismissed the address to the nation as "empty rhetoric”.
"He did not offer to step down, which was a precondition to start any negotiation," Safi was quoted by AlJazeera as saying.
"He has shown that he is a dictator that we cannot negotiate with. I think he has no desire to relinquish power. He wants to crush the opposition and he hopes he can stay over for the next 40 years like his father did."
Assad called for a "war to defend the nation", describing rebels fighting him as terrorists and foreign agents. A reconciliation conference that he proposed should exclude "those who have betrayed Syria".
Assad must step down in order to bring about a political solution to the war in his country, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said.
"We will look carefully if there is anything new in the speech but we maintain our position that Assad has to step aside and allow for a political transition," a spokesman Ashton said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said "empty promises of reform fool no one".
The United Nations says 60,000 people have been killed in the civil war in Syria.
In his speech, Assad thanked Russia, China and Iran for their support of Syria and their stance that the Syrian people should alone decide their faith. "We salute you and we thank you for your support,” he said.
Western powers have insisted on Assad’s departure before the formation of a new government of national unity while Russia insisted that the decision be left to the “Syrian people.”
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- bielecThis was predictable19:21, 06/01/2013Of course the rebels rejected the peace plan because peace is not on their agenda. Their goal is to destabilize the country, to destroy its political, economic, and social fabric, and to deliver it to Western / Israeli bankers.
Peace would end the chaos. Peace would prolong Syria's independence.
The rebels don't want peace because their sponsors don't want peace. They want to destroy and conquer the country.
- vusi(no title)21:21, 06/01/2013The opposition want bloodshed to continue that is why they have conditions that are conditions of mentally unstable people who only care about themselves because they are away from where bullets are flying. Any Syrian who is after the interests of Syria will seek a peaceful solution to the situation. We in Africa know it is the USA/EU terror gang that is inciting their puppets to continue slaughtering people. We call on Syria to stop thinking peace because these bloodthirsty terrorists want more dead innocent; it is time to think freeing Syria of terrorists. They the terrorist leadership cannot speak of many people dying yet reject any chance for peace.
- severnayazemlyaTartus, Syria05:13, 08/01/2013Send PETR VELIKIY battle cruiser and support ships to Tartus.
Any anti-ISIL operation in Iraq cannot be effective unless the Islamic State is attacked in Syria. But the final statement of the Paris Conference did not mention Syria as a precaution against disunity in the coalition and with due regard for the Russian position. Professor of the Chair of Modern East Department of History, Political Science and Law in RSUH