Assad says he can form new Syria government with opposition
31 March 2016, 14:36
President Bashar Assad said it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian
government including opposition figures, but his opponents responded on
Wednesday that no administration would be legitimate while he remained
by military victory in the desert city of Palmyra, was quoted by
Russia's RIA news agency as saying a new draft constitution could be
ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents
and loyalists could be agreed.
the distribution of portfolios and other technical issues would need to
be discussed at Geneva peace talks, which resume next month, "these are
not difficult questions", Assad said.
negotiators immediately dismissed Assad's remarks, saying that a
political settlement could be reached only by establishing a
transitional body with full powers, not another government under Assad.
Bashar Assad is talking about has no relation to the political
process," said George Sabra of the High Negotiations Committee.
United States also rejected Assad's comments. "I don't know whether he
envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government.
Obviously that would be a nonstarter for us," White House spokesman Josh
erupted five years ago with protests against Assad which were put down
with force. It descended into a civil war which has killed more than
250,000, drawn in global military powers and helped Islamic State
establish its self-declared caliphate. Nearly five million refugees have
been driven abroad.
conference in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on
countries to resettle nearly half a million Syrian refugees in the next
"This demands an
exponential increase in global solidarity," he said, though his appeal
won immediate responses from only three countries - Italy, Sweden and
the United States.
Assad told RIA
the war had cost more than $200 billion in economic losses and damage to
infrastructure. That is in line with a U.N.-backed body which estimates
physical damage at $90 billion, with an additional $169 billion of
accumulated losses from a collapse in GDP to less than half the 2011
Despite Assad's upbeat
assessment of the chances for a political solution, his comments
reflected deep differences with the opposition. It says that for the
last four years international agreements on Syria's future have centered
on the principle of setting up a transitional governing body.