Assad foe tells Syrian leader to cede power to officials

By REUTERS
May 23, 2013 14:40




BEIRUT - A Syrian opposition leader urged Syrian President Bashar Assad on Thursday to hand power to his deputy or his prime minister and then go abroad with 500 members of his entourage, without immunity from prosecution.

Assad is likely to reject or ignore the 16-point peace plan proposed by Moaz Alkhatib, who resigned as head of the Western-backed opposition National Coalition in March, particularly given recent military gains by his forces against rebels.

However, Alkhatib's proposal shows a willingness to work with people associated with Assad throughout the revolt and will be seen as stretching out a hand to members of the government.

It is unclear if Alkhatib's proposal will win support from other Syrian opposition figures gathering in Istanbul on Thursday to decide how to respond to a US-Russian proposal to convene peace talks involving Assad's government next month.

The Sunni Muslim cleric's plan, posted on his Facebook page, calls on Assad to step down in favour of Prime Minister Wael al-Halki or Vice-President Farouq al-Shara, a veteran politician who has kept a low profile since the revolt began in March 2011, prompting opposition claims last year that he planned to defect.


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