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Syria’s Assad says awaiting ‘action’ after Kerry comments

Syria’s Assad says awaiting ‘action’ after Kerry comments
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday he was waiting for US “actions” after Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged talks with Damascus were necessary to end the country’s conflict.

“We are still listening to the comments and we have to wait for the actions and then we’ll decide,” Assad told Iranian television in comments in Damascus broadcast on Syrian state television.

The comments were the first since Kerry said in an interview aired on Sunday that Washington would be willing to talk to Assad.

“Well, we have to negotiate in the end,” Kerry said, when asked by CBS television if he would negotiate with the Syrian leader.

Kerry’s spokeswoman later stressed that the comments indicated no change in US policy, saying “there is no future for a brutal dictator like Assad in Syria.”

But Syrian media touted the statement as a reversal in US policy that acknowledged Assad’s “legitimacy”.

In his brief comments, Assad said any real change in the international community’s policy on Syria would require ending “political support of terrorists,” a charge his government regularly levels against backers of the Syrian opposition.

“We have no choice but to defend our country,” Assad added.

“Any international changes that come about within that framework are something positive, if they are honest and have an effect on the ground.”  More than 215,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government demonstrations in March 2011. It spiralled into a civil war after a government crackdown on demonstrators.

Turkey slAMS US over plans to talk with Syria

Turkey on Monday slammed a US suggestion that negotiations could be opened with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a political transition in the war-torn country, Xinhua news agency reported citing Turkish media. "There is nothing left to negotiate with Assad and no outcome has been achieved so far from the talks with the Syrian regime," state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is on a visit to Cambodia, as saying. Cavusoglu's remarks came in response to a statement by John Kerry that his country was exploring ways to pressure Assad into agreeing to
talks.


Agencies

Agencies

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