Syria hits back at West for wrecking diplomatic process

By REUTERS
September 17, 2013 14:27

 
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BEIRUT - Syria accused Western powers on Tuesday of trying to wreck prospects for a negotiated settlement to the country's 2-1/2-year conflict by imposing preconditions on the peace process and supporting rebel fighters.

The comments, highlighting the precariousness of any international mediation between Syria's two warring parties, followed a meeting of foreign ministers from the United States, France and Britain a day earlier. They warned there would be consequences if President Bashar Assad did not hand over Syria's chemical weapons.

A US-Russian deal to remove the weapons averted the immediate prospect of a US military strike against Syria, but US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted it offered Assad "no lifeline" and that he had "lost all legitimacy".

Syrian state news agency SANA quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as saying the comments by the Western powers "exposed the truth of their aims in Syria" and their desire to impose their will on the Syrian people.

"Discussion of political and constitutional legitimacy in Syria is the exclusive right of the Syrian people," it said.

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