Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has said it would not be difficult to agree on a new government including opposition figures, but his rivals say no administration would be legitimate while he remains in office. A new draft constitution could be ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed, a Russian news agency quoted Mr Assad as saying. However, opponents immediately dismissed Mr Assads remarks saying Syria needs a transitional ruling body with full executive powers and not a participatory government under President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr Assad told the news agency that it would be “logical for there to be independent forces, opposition forces and forces loyal to the government represented” in the new authorities. He was also against opposition demands that it should be put in place without his participation, insisting that the transitional body they are calling for is “illogical and unconstitutional”. “Neither in the Syrian constitution nor in the constitution of any other country in the world is there anything that could be called a transitional body of power,” Mr Assad said.
Syria’s main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) completely rejected the demand from Assad for any transitional government to include his regime. “International resolutions speak of… the formation of a transitional body with full powers, including presidential powers,” HNC senior member Asaad al-Zoabi said. He also said that Assad should not remain for even one hour after the formation of this body. George Sabra, a negotiator for the HNC, representing the Syrian opposition, said that the government, whether it’s new or old, as long as it is in the presence of Bashar al-Assad, is not part of the political process.
The US 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.
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