The Syrian government said Saturday that it will not hold any negotiations regarding the continuation of President Bashar Al-Assad’s rule, describing this issue as a “red line”.
The regime is willing to participate in the UN-backed talks on Syria in Geneva but will not discuss anything regarding the Al-Assad’s resignation, Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem said.
US secretary of state John Kerry said Saturday it is necessary to hold the peace talks soon, despite violations to the ceasefire, Reuters cited a source close to Kerry as saying.
The opposition group said it will attend the peace talks; however they accused the Syrian president of escalating the war to reinforce his stance.
Kerry discussed, in a phone call with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, ways to support the peace talks and the UN envoy to Syria’s efforts to bring the conflicting sides together in Geneva.
Russia’s presidential envoy to the Middle East and North Africa and deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov denounced media reports on discussions between Russia and Western powers on Syria’s federalisation, reported the state agency TASS.
“It is nonsense; we are not voicing any ideas of that kind. Such ideas should come from the Syrians; it is them who should open negotiations and reach an accord,” Bogdanov said.
“The issue of a state system should be discussed by the Syrians themselves; they should draft a constitution and fix their country’s system of power,” he added.
The UN is willing to start peace talks on Syria by 14 March, the spokesperson for UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, Jessy Shahin, previously said.
The talks will officially start on 9 March, but some delegations will not be able to attend before 14 March. Those who participated in the first round will be participating in the second one.