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Syria's Assad rejects dialogue with 'puppet' opposition
Published Sunday 06/01/2013 (updated) 08/01/2013 18:07
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Syria's President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in
Damascus in this still image taken from video Jan. 6, 2013.
(Reuters/Syrian TV via Reuters TV)
BEIRUT (Reuters) -- 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.

Appearing in an opera house in central Damascus packed with cheering supporters, the Syrian leader delivered his first speech to an audience since June last year, and his first public comments since a television interview in November.

"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.

"We will not have dialogue with a puppet made by the West," he said, calling for a "full national mobilization" to fight against rebels he described as al-Qaida terrorists.

He spoke confidently for about an hour before a crowd of cheering loyalists, who occasionally interrupted him to shout and applaud, at one point raising their fists and chanting: "With blood and soul we sacrifice for you, O Bashar!"

At the end of the speech, supporters rushed to the stage, mobbing him and shouting: "God, Syria and Bashar is enough!" as a smiling Assad waved and was escorted from the hall.

"We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word," Assad said in the speech. "This war targets Syria using a handful of Syrians and many foreigners. Thus, this is a war to defend the nation."

"We meet today and suffering is overwhelming Syrian land. There is no place for joy while security and stability are absent on the streets of our country," Assad said. "The nation is for all and we all must protect it."

Syria's opposition rejected the proposed peace initiative, saying it was aimed at wrecking diplomatic efforts to end the civil war.

"Assad simply wanted, with the initiative he proposed, to cut the road to reaching a political solution that may result from the forthcoming American-Russian meeting with (UN mediator Lakhdar) Brahimi, which the opposition would not accept unless he and his regime leave," National Coalition spokesman Walid Bunni told Reuters.

The United Nations says 60,000 people have been killed in the civil war in Syria, which has brought fighting to the edge of the capital.
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1 ) Ariella / USA
06/01/2013 16:41
Love you President Assad! Under you Syrian Jews, Christans and Muslims have lived together once the rebels get their blood stained hands on power the road to Damascus will be stained red!!!!

2 ) Joe Fattal / USA
06/01/2013 20:27
Syria is at the end of the road. There is no way for Syria to become what is use to be. Even for Assad to have a Syria that he use to to be would be difficult to do, and to find a reconciliation governemnt with all the factions, effort to end the civil war is far and peace is not forthcoming. It is sad. The Irony about it it is better sometimes to live under a dictator and that have some much blood spill to remove one.

3 ) PA (fr) / Pa
07/01/2013 06:18
Check out Assad's speech Sunday, Jan.6, 2013 -- look for the parts that did not get published. He makes a LOT of sense. "The crisis isn’t an internal crisis, it is a foreign war which is being waged with internal tools." http://resistance-episteme.tumblr.com/post/24355919856/my-translation-of-select-parts-of-assads-speech-today

4 ) Nizar / Tanzania
07/01/2013 09:01
It is evident that moves by the rulers of the U.S. in relation to Syria have nothing whatsoever to do with stopping violence in the region or emancipating the Syrian people. Rather, the US,NATO and their Arab proxies maneuvers and machinations are aimed at seizing on the Syrian uprising to get rid of a "troublesome" regime, and strengthen Israel and overall imperialist control of the Middle East

5 ) Tissa / Sri Lanka
07/01/2013 10:33
Once Assad is gone Syria will become another Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan, Libya, Tunisia etc etc. Sad to note that some don't have eyes.

6 ) Mel / USA
07/01/2013 18:12
#3:I agree! Assad's speech was VERY honest,dignified & RATIONAL.It was sound-bited by various media,to suit their political cause,especially those states who're INVOLVED in the COUP on Syria & the DESTRUCTION of Arab/Muslim sovereignty,mobility & freedoms.Assad shouldn't LOWER HIMSELF 2 talk,"negotiate"with extremist terrorists hired as proxies by NATO &Gulf States to destroy Arab democracy!NATOGovts wouldn't do it either(were they NOT using al-Qaida as their proxy).Bravo Assad!Shame on NATO!

7 ) uri ben lardarse / tel aviv ,isreal
07/01/2013 19:32
funny that liberals,westerners govts and alqaida/salfites..etc are cheering for the destruction of syria.... lol
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