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Syria: Opposition refuses new coalition government with Assad



Syria: Opposition refuses new coalition government with Assad
The President of Syria Bashar al-Assad hinted on Wednesday that he could form a new government with the opposition noting that it won’t be difficult to achieve that possibility but his opponents insist that no administration would be seen to be legitimate while he (al-Assad) was still in power.
Assad’s comments are coming after the US and Russia, who are at opposite sides in Syria’s bloody civil war agreed on a new plan for a cease-fire in the war-ravaged country.
The Syrian President was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying a new draft constitution could be ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed.
But opposition negotiators have dismissed Assad’s remarks, saying that a political settlement could be reached only by establishing a transitional body with full powers, not another government under Assad.
“What Bashar al-Assad is talking about has no relation to the political process,” said George Sabra of the High Negotiations Committee.
The United States also rejected Assad’s comments. “I don’t know whether he envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a nonstarter for us,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The form of the executive body that would lead Syria until elections, which the UN says should be held in 18 months, is a key bone of contention between the two sides.

A UN Security Council Resolution vaguely suggests the establishment of a body to head the political transition.

For the regime, this amounts to a government reshuffle in which the opposition is included, but for the opposition it would be a new body with presidential powers and no role for Assad.

Assad has been buoyed after his forces recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State (IS) jihadists over the weekend, in an advance backed by Russian air strikes and special forces on the ground.

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