MOSCOW - Syrian President Bashar Assad will soon set a date for a referendum on a new constitution, Itar-Tass news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Tuesday.

"President Assad informed (me) that he will meet in the coming days with the commission that prepared a draft of the new constitution," the Russian news agency quoted Lavrov as saying in Damascus after talks with Assad, who faces protests against his rule.

"The work is finished, and now a date will be announced for a referendum on this important document for Syria."

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