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article imageAssad: Foreign powers must stop aiding Syrian rebels

By Layne Weiss     Nov 1, 2013 in World
Damascus - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has revealed he is open to peace talks, but says they will not become a reality until foreign nations stop supporting the rebel fighters trying to overthrow him.
Assad's comments came Wednesday during a meeting with UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
Brahimi is in Damascus to meet with Syrian officials in an effort to garner more support for peace talks, Reuters reports.
The peace talks are known as Geneva 2 and are set to take place this month. The main goal is to cultivate a political process, which would result in new Syrian leadership, The NY Times reports. Russia and the United States are sponsoring these talks, but have different views on what should happen. Russia supports President Assad while the US supports his opposition.
Another issue about these talks is Iran. Will Iran be allowed to take part? Assad would like Iran to be there, but Saudi Arabia opposes its presence.
"The Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide on Syria's future, and any solution or agreement must have the acceptance of the Syrian people, and reflect their desires," Assad told Brahimi according to Al Jazeera.
Assad also said that there "must not be any foreign intervention" in seeking a resolution to the civil war in Syria.
Assad told Brahimi,“The success of any political solution is tied to stopping support for terrorist groups and pressuring their patron states, The NY Times reports.
“Only the Syrian people are authorized to shape the future of Syria."
Mr. Assad's comments were direct hits at Qatar, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, among others, who support the rebels the Syrian government refers to as "terrorists."
According to Al Jazeera, Brahimi agreed with Assad's viewpoint that it is up to the Syrians themselves to come up with a solution to this conflict.
"The efforts being made for the Geneva conference to be held are focused on finding the way for the Syrians themselves to meet and to agree on solving the crisis as quickly as possible," Brahimi said. This is the first time he and Assad have met since last December.
Brahimi also favors Iran's presence at the Geneva 2 peace talks, The NY Times reports.
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