Syria’s Assad Will Not Leave the Presidency

Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, said he would not resign the presidency prior to the 2014 elections. He warned those in the opposition in an interview with a newspaper from Argentina. Assad said that foreign intervention is to blame for the crisis in his country and he welcomed, albeit cautiously, a proposed peace conference set up by Russia and the U.S.

Assad was speaking to the state news agency in Argentina, Telam in a lengthy and frank interview held in Damascus and released Saturday. In the interview, it denied that his regime had used any chemical weapons in their fight against civilians.

Assad’s comments come at a time of a rare push by Russia and the U.S. to convene peace talks in Geneva. Assad said he had received the joint approach by Russia and the U.S. to help overcome the current civil war crisis.

There has been no set date to start the peace conference, but its goal is to bring together the government and rebels. Assad said he believes the West does not want any solution in Syria.

Assad said resigning was out of the question, as Syrians would decide at the polls in 2014 if he stays in power. Assad told the newspaper he did not know if the Syrian people had given U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry the power to talk for them about who should be president and who should go. That said Assad would be set by the people in Syria in the presidential elections in 2014.

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