6 January 2013, 18:44

Syria’s Assad proposes new peace plan

Syria’s Assad proposes new peace plan

The people of Syria are fighting against “terrorists who carry the ideology of al-Qaeda”, Syria’s President Bashar Assad stated Sunday in his first address to the nation since June.

In his speech, Assad also outlined a new peace initiative that includes dialogue, a national reconciliation conference and the formation of a wide representative government which would oversee new elections, a new constitution and general amnesty.

The plan is nice but Assad has ignored the issue of stepping down, says expert from the Institute for Middle East Studies Sergey Seregichev.

"President is a key figure in Syria’s current power system, so lots of things depend on who will have the helm. Assad’s speech can make the Syrian opposition unhappy as he said nothing about quitting while radicals may perceive it as the last days of the regime and a signal to finish it off."

Assad called rebels "murderous criminals" and added "We never rejected a political solution but with whom should we talk? With puppets brought by the West?"

The head of the St.Petersburg-based Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies Gumer Isaev comments.

"It’s important that Assad mentioned political solution of the crisis as those who fund and arm the opposition realized that things have gone really bad though the opposition still carries out attacks and some territories are poorly controlled by the government. Assad is so far at helm but Syria has no opposition stronghold, like Libya’s Benghazi. Therefore, serious initiatives like Assad’s involving all warring parties could work."

Bashar Assad has also stressed the necessity to unite to save the country and thanked Russia, China and other countries that hampered the Western interference in Syria’s affairs. Assad also pledged that Syria will remain free and independent.

The Syrian opposition forces were quick to reject Assad's proposal.

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