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Assad will not resign in any circumstances: Syrian diplomat

(Xinhua)

10:44, February 16, 2012

MOSCOW, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- President Bashar al-Assad would not resign under any circumstances, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said here Wednesday.

There was no possibility Assad would step down because "the president is legitimate and was elected by a majority of the Syrian population," Haddad told reporters.

He also said Damascus was against international peacekeepers' presence in the country.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said peacekeepers could be deployed in Syria only when the country's authorities and opposition reached agreement on a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Haddad said Syria's authorities had no plans for talks with the armed groups.

"We are ready to hold talks with the systemic opposition, but for those who carry weapons, we consider them terrorist groups and mercenaries. They should be talked to with the use of weapons," he was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Damascus would press ahead with reforms to resolve the nationwide crisis and continue to resist the armed groups, the diplomat said.

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