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.

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