Assad "peace plan" dismissed by Turkey, opposition
Sunday, January 06, 2013 - 01:23
Jan. 6 - Turkey dismisses Assad speech as Syrian opposition says the President must step down. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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A defiant President Bashar al-Assad appears before cheering supporters who packed the Damascus Opera House.
He presents what he describes as a new initiative to end the war. He pledges to hold reconciliation talks -- but not with those who he says have betrayed Syria.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was not convinced.
(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER AHMET DAVUTOGLU SAYING:
"It's not possible to make progress with empty commitments and it's not possible to make progress by denying the existence of the Syrian opposition, which is recognized by the whole world. We were not really expecting him to come up with something new but despite that, we had hope. Unfortunately his remarks show that does not fully understand what has been going on and he doesn't have a plan for the future."
Syrian National Coalition member Khalid Hodja says there can be no peace with Assad.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SYRIAN NATIONAL COALITION MEMBER, KHALID HODJA , SAYING:
"We can sit with the regime and discuss how can we manage the interim government but not with Bashar Assad. Bashar Assad has to step down."
The United Nations says 60,000 people have been killed in the civil war, the longest and bloodiest of the conflicts to emerge from the Arab Spring.
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