First Published: 2013-01-20

 

Muallem: Captain of capsized ship does not jump into first boat

 

Syrian Foreign Minister rejects idea that Assad will be ousted, saying those who demand his removal want only bloodshed.

 

Middle East Online

‘Nobody can afford to undermine presidency’

DAMASCUS - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has rejected the idea that President Bashar al-Assad will be ousted, telling state television that those who demand his removal want only bloodshed in the country.

Muallem said late on Saturday that the United States and Russia were unable to agree on Syria "because they do not agree on what is meant by 'period of transition'."

"The US continues to have the president's departure as a condition of regime change, ignoring the fact that the captain of a capsized ship does not jump into the first boat," Muallem said.

"As long as the Americans and plotters, including Syrians, cling to this condition, it means that they want continued violence and the destruction of Syria."

Muallem said only the Syrian people can decide "through their choice at the ballot box" on Assad's fate, insisting that "nobody can afford to undermine the presidency -- it is unacceptable."

The opposition in Syria has insisted on Assad's departure as a prerequisite for any negotiations to settle the 22-month conflict that has left more than 60,000 people dead, according to United Nations figures.

Muallem also lashed out at UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for "adopting a position that represents the United States and the Gulf... conspiring against Syria."

His position "is beyond the scope of his mandate and has betrayed his mission as a mediator because a mediator does not put one party against the other."

Brahimi has been heavily criticised by Damascus after calling a peace plan outlined by Assad earlier this month "one-sided."

 

Syria army retreats as rebels hold on to Idlib

Turkey accused of providing weapons to Syria jihadists

Yemen shelling kills two Saudi border guards

Nusra Front chief pledges no attacks on West

Israel FIFA suspension bid withdrawn, amended proposal passed

Attack on Shi'ite mosque in Saudi Arabia

Syrian Christian beheads IS terrorist

Al-Azhar meets Marine Le Pen to 'show true Islam'

IS claims Baghdad hotel car bombings

'Highest ethical standards' for Qatar World Cup

Bombs rip through Baghdad hotel car parks

Merryland Park: A missed symbol of liberal Egypt

Syria revenues shrink under rebel control

Blair resignation widely welcomed by Palestinians

Qatar pledges $50 mn to Indonesia for sheltering Rohingya migrants

Al-Jazeera interview with Nusra leader draws criticism

Palestinians 'open' to every scenario on FIFA vote on Israel

Iran defends spy trial of US journalist

Iraq exhumed remains of 470 bodies from Tikrit mass graves

Kerry set to launch final diplomatic push for Iran nuclear talks

Coalition raids target headquarters of rebel troops in Yemen capital

Iraq operation to liberate Anbar faces barrage of criticism

EU calls for resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks

Fast pace of executions in Saudi Arabia 'very disturbing'

Tunisia begins hearings into ex-regime's rights abuses

‘Islamic State’ executes 20 men in ruins of Syria ancient city

Saudi Arabia announces sanctions against two Hezbollah leaders

Libya to fight aggression with 'strength'

Iran says nuclear talks could go beyond deadline

Hamas accused of committing war crimes against civilians

German court rejects Yemenis' case over US drone killings

Kuwait emir urges Muslim states to fight extremism

NY Times journalist has Turkish citizenship revoked

Military site inspections necessary to Iran deal

Iraqi forces on outskirts of Ramadi

Syrian refugees ignored at Turkey poll campaign

Director 'shocked' at Morocco’s prostitution film ban

Libya PM survives assassination attempt

US criticises Shiite name of Iraqi military operation

Israel warplanes strike Gaza after rocket attack

Pro-government fighters retake Yemen city from Shiite rebels

Libya militias trap civilians in Benghazi

EU border agency plans to expand migrant rescue operation

Syria state TV blames ‘foreign enemies’ for signal jamming

Palestinians and jihadists clash in Yarmouk