Assad welcomes US-Russian initiative
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he welcomed a US-Russian peace initiative to end Syria's civil war but had no plans to resign, in an interview with an Argentine newspaper, Aljazeera reported.
"To resign would be to flee," he told the Clarin on Saturday when asked if he would consider stepping aside as called for by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
"I don't know if Kerry or anyone else has received the power of the Syrian people to talk in their name about who should go and who should stay. That will be determined by the Syrian people in the 2014 presidential elections," Assad said.
Assad spoke to Clarin and the Argentine state news agency Telam in a lengthy interview in Damascus in which he also denied that his government has used chemical weapons against the civilian population.
His comments come amid a rare joint push by the US and Russia to convene a peace conference in Geneva that would bring together members of the regime and the rebels fighting to oust Assad.
"We have received the Russian-US approach well and we hope that there will be an international conference to help Syrians overcome the crisis," Clarin quoted Assad as saying.