BREAKING NEWS
Strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake near Perugia, Italy, felt as far away as Rome ... read more ... Read more
Close

Assad won't give up power

Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014
Bashar Assad
Reuters
MOUNTING EVIDENCE: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is suspected of involvement in war crimes during the country's civil war.

Relevant offers

Middle East

NZ pushes, but more silence as UN Security Council fails to reach agreement on Syria Israel strikes Gaza after rocket targets 'people in middle of summer vacation' Has New Zealand held back on the Security Council because of Helen Clark? Syrian crisis is the biggest thing to happen in decades Ali Daqneesh dies, days after brother Omran became the face of Aleppo's horror The stunned, bloodied face of a child survivor sums up the horror of Aleppo Airstrike on Yemen hospital kills at least 11 Fact check: Donald Trump gets his Mideast history wrong Israeli troops demolish home of Palestinian killer's family How an unlikely Facebook friendship saved a baby with a heart defect

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in Damascus he has no intention of giving up power and the issue is not up for discussion, Russian agency Interfax reported.

''If we wanted to give up, we would have done so at the very beginning. We are on guard for our country. This issue is not up for discussion,'' he was reported as telling visiting Russian parliamentarians, days ahead of an internationally sponsored peace conference on Syria.

The comments underscored differences between participants ahead of the January 22 talks in Montreux, Switzerland, seen as the most serious global effort yet to end Syria's three-year conflict, during which Assad has enjoyed Russia's protection.

The United Nations hopes the talks will bring about a political transition in the country, and US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that Syria's future had no place for Assad.

Syria, however, said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week that its focus at the peace conference would be on fighting ''terrorism''.

Syria's main political opposition group in exile agreed on Saturday to attend the talks and said three rebel fighting forces also wanted to take part.  

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content