Syria slams Clinton remarks on al-Assad's "lost legitimacy"

Syria slams Clinton remarks on al-Assad's "lost legitimacy"

Syria on Tuesday criticized as "provocative" remarks by the US secretary of state that President Bashar al-Assad had "lost legitimacy" and was "not indispensable."

"These remarks are a blatant interference in Syria's internal affairs and a provocative act aimed at continuing the internal crisis," the official SANA news agency reported.

"From our perspective, he has lost legitimacy," Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday. "He has failed to deliver on the promises he's made."

Clinton also accused al-Assad of accepting help from Iran that was used to "repress his own people."

She said the United States was investigating the mob attack Monday on the US embassy in Damascus, saying the Syrian government had not taken the necessary steps to protect diplomatic outposts, DPA reported.

The French embassy was also attacked by hundreds of al-Assad's supporters, who were angry about the ambassadors' visit last week to the city of Hama to show support for the demonstrators.

Human rights groups say more than 1,400 civilians and 350 security personnel have been killed in the government crackdown on protesters who have been calling for al-Assad's ouster since March.

Meanwhile, the participants in a government-proposed round of talks have rejected any foreign interference in Syrian affairs.

In Tuesday's closing statement at the conference, participants also called for the release of all political prisoners as well as those arrested during the protests.

They also recommended the setting up of a committee to review the constitution.

The three-day meeting was, however, boycotted by prominent opposition groups who urged the government to first halt the crackdown on demonstrators.

The talks were proposed by al-Assad in June and are aimed at discussing possible constitutional amendments and changes to the laws governing elections, media and the creation of political parties other than the ruling Baath party.

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