Assad rejects 'foreign solution' to Syria crisis


Placards are displayed during a demonstration against the Syrian president Bashar al Assad in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on Mar. 10, 2012.


Jewel Samad

The Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, said he will reject any solution to the conflict in his country that is imposed by foreign nations, the Xinhua news agency reported.

In an interview with Iranian state television, Assad said the Syrian people alone were responsible for solving the Syrian conflict – which he described as an "internal issue which has nothing to do with foreign countries."

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According to Assad, the ongoing violence in Syria – in which the UN estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed – boils down to internal differences and disagreements, notably among "the youth," adding that maintaining national unity was paramount.

He said that no amount of external pressure would change his government's attitude towards internal security.

Assad's comments come ahead of a Syria meeting in Geneva on Saturday between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and regional powers Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.

Representatives are to discuss a plan by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan for a transitional government of national unity in Syria.

Reuters this week reported that the new cabinet was to include members from both sides of the Syrian conflict, but exclude those whose participation could damage its credibility – raising the possibility that Assad may be left out.

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Diplomats had suggested that Russia – a long-time ally of Syria – would support the plan, but, according to BBC reports today, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has ruled out endorsing a transitional government that would require Assad to step down.

Lavrov said: "We will not support and cannot support any meddling from outside or any imposition of recipes. This also concerns the fate of the president of the country, Bashar al-Assad."