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Russia: West should consider Assad’s proposals

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 9, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

— Syrian President Bashar Assad’s proposals for ending his country’s civil war should be taken into account by the international community, Russian officials insisted Wednesday, even though Assad’s ideas were rejected by the Syrian opposition and drew harsh Western criticism.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said senior Russian and U.S. diplomats will discuss possible ways to settle the Syrian crisis during talks later this week with the U.N. envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.

The ministry said as part of international efforts to help negotiate an end to Syria’s civil war “some of the ideas” voiced by Assad should be considered.

In a rare speech Sunday, Assad offered a plan that would keep him in power to oversee a national reconciliation conference, a national election and a new government.

He dismissed any chance of talks with the armed opposition, however, and vowed to continue the battle “as long as there is one terrorist left,” a term the government uses for the rebels.

The opposition rejected Assad’s offer, which also was denounced by the West, including the U.S. and Britain.

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