BEIRUT - Syria accused international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday of bias and interference after he criticized its response to an opposition offer of talks and suggested Bashar Assad should not stand again for president.
Brahimi told a closed-door session of the United Nations Security Council last Friday that Damascus was "surprised and embarrassed" by a January offer of talks from opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib, and its response was "slow and confused".
At the conclusion of his remarks, which were later circulated by UN diplomats, Brahimi suggested Assad "voluntarily forego" the right to stand for another term as president in an election scheduled for next year.
Syria's foreign ministry said in a statement that if Brahimi wished to continue his role, he must show impartiality and realize that "the Syrian people are the only decision-makers who will choose their representatives".
"The briefing ... was marked by interference in the Syrian Arab Republic's internal affairs and a lack of neutrality which should characterize his mission," the ministry in a statement.