Syria FM Rejects Idea of Assad Ouster

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has rejected the idea that President Bashar Assad will be ousted, telling state television that those who demand his removal want only bloodshed in the country.

Muallem said late on Saturday that the United States and Russia were unable to agree on Syria "because they do not agree on what is meant by 'period of transition'."

"The U.S. continues to have the president's departure as a condition of regime change, ignoring the fact that the captain of a capsized ship does not jump into the first boat," Muallem said.

"As long as the Americans and plotters, including Syrians, cling to this condition, it means that they want continued violence and the destruction of Syria."

Muallem said only the Syrian people can decide "through their choice at the ballot box" on Assad's fate, insisting that "nobody can afford to undermine the presidency -- it is unacceptable."

The opposition in Syria has insisted on Assad's departure as a prerequisite for any negotiations to settle the 22-month conflict that has left more than 60,000 people dead, according to United Nations figures.

Muallem also lashed out at U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for "adopting a position that represents the United States and the Gulf... conspiring against Syria."

His position "is beyond the scope of his mandate and has betrayed his mission as a mediator because a mediator does not put one party against the other."

Brahimi has been heavily criticized by Damascus after calling a peace plan outlined by Assad earlier this month "one-sided."

Comments 4
Thumb lebanon_first 20 January 2013, 15:03

habibeh, Assad is not the captain of the ship. What kind of captain kills his own people?

Missing Cyanide 20 January 2013, 16:52

Ballot boxes man??? really???

Thumb mouallek 20 January 2013, 17:12

What a fool !

Missing cedars 20 January 2013, 19:52

The problem with you is that you only understand to operate on one frequency, votes must be 99.999 for Assad or else assassination and disappearance of the anti-Assad politicians occur, same as it is happening in Lebanon to the anti-Assad figures.
No one is saying post Assad would be good or bad but it can't be worse than the current regime because of the many assassinations all blamed on Israel per your view.