Syria opposition struggles to forge transition plan

May 24, 2013 12:54

ISTANBUL - Syria's divided opposition leaders have failed to back a plan by their outgoing leader for President Bashar Assad to cede power gradually to end the country's civil war, highlighting the obstacles to international peace talks expected next month.

The 16-point plan proposed by Moaz Alkhatib, who resigned as head of the Western-backed opposition National Coalition in March, urges Assad to hand power to his deputy or prime minister and then go abroad with 500 members of his entourage.Alkhatib's proposal appeared to win little support from other Syrian opposition figures at a three-day meeting in Istanbul to decide how to respond to a US-Russian proposal to convene peace talks involving Assad's government next month.

The coalition is under international pressure to resolve internal divisions ahead of a conference Washington and Moscow see as crucial to hopes of ending two years of civil war which has allowed al-Qaida linked militants a growing role in Syria.

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