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Syria's Assad calls for national dialogue to end 'real war'

[ 2013-01-07 14:03] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denounced the opposition as "slaves" of the West in a rare speech on Sunday and called for a national dialogue conference to be followed by a referendum on a national charter and parliamentary elections.

Outlining a reconciliation plan aimed at resolving Syria's 21-month conflict that according to the UN has claimed more than 60,000 lives, Assad called on foreign powers to end their support for rebels seeking to topple his government.

Describing the Western-backed opposition as "slaves" of foreign powers, he admitted that Syria was in the throes of a "real war".

The government would soon spell out details of the transition plan, he said, while stressing that any resolution must be purely Syrian and ratified by referendum, including a charter drafted at the national dialogue conference.

After the referendum, new parliamentary polls would be held, followed by the creation of a new government, said Assad.

He said the conflict was not one between the government and the opposition but between the "nation and its enemies".

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

Bashar al-Assad must step down in order to bring about a political solution to the war in his country, the European Union's foreign policy chief said on Sunday.

Assad last spoke in public on June 3 when he addressed parliament in Damascus. In November he gave an interview to Russian television in which he dismissed suggestions he would go into exile, saying he would "live and die" in Syria.

During his latest visit to Damascus, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had mentioned a plan, based on a Geneva declaration, that talked of a ceasefire, forming a government and holding parliamentary and presidential polls.

The Geneva plan put forward last June would see a transitional government in place, but it does not refer to Assad going - a key demand of the opposition.

NATO member Turkey, a one-time Damascus ally, has become one of its most vocal opponents over the conflict in its southern neighbor, and has led international calls for Assad to go.


1. How many months has the conflict in Syria been going on for?

2. What did Syria’s opposition say that Assad’s peace initiative was aimed at doing?

3. When did Assad last speak in public?


1. 21.

2. Wrecking diplomatic efforts to end the civil war.

3. June 3

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Syria's Assad calls for national dialogue to end 'real war'

About the broadcaster:

Syria's Assad calls for national dialogue to end 'real war'

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.