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Assad says no political solution possible with armed groups destabilizing Syria

(Xinhua)

11:27, March 11, 2012

DAMASCUS, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reiterated Saturday that any political dialogue is doomed to fail "so long as there are armed groups that work to foment anarchy and destabilize the country," while the opposition placed the blame for the armament of some groups on the government's crackdown.

During his meeting with Kofi Annan, joint special envoy for Syria of the United Nations and Arab League (AL), Assad said that any political dialogue or political process could not succeed so long as there are "armed terrorist groups" working to spread anarchy and destabilize the country through targeting civilians and military personnel and smashing public and private properties.

Assad stressed that Syria is ready to make any "honest" effort to find a solution to the current crisis, adding that "the success of any effort necessitates first a study of what is happening on the ground, instead of depending on visual space circulated by some regional and international states to distort facts and give a diverse picture to what Syria is passing through."

For his part, Annan, who arrived in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday to mediate the year-long crisis, stressed his "commitment to working in a just, evenhanded and independent way," and voiced "rejection of any foreign interference in Syrian affairs" as well as his belief in a peaceful solution.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that Annan was scheduled to talk with Assad in Damascus upon arrival, adding that Annan's priority was to immediately halt all fighting between the government forces and opposition fighters -- if not simultaneously, first by the government troops and followed by the opposition.

After meeting the Syrian president, Annan met with some opposition figures in Damascus, mainly Hassan Abdul-Azim, head of the National Coordination Body for the forces of National Democratic Change, who said the Syrian government was responsible for the armament of some groups in Syria, citing the government's alleged crackdown on dissents.

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