Syria says arming rebels will prolong war

June 24, 2013 13:44

BEIRUT - Syria plans to attend proposed international peace talks as a means to agree a national government of "genuine partnership" but will not participate in order to hand over power to the opposition, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday.

Moualem said if the proposed talks in Geneva went ahead there should be a ceasefire and authorities in Damascus were ready to discuss mechanisms for monitoring it.He called on Syria's neighbors to stop arming rebels battling to overthrow President Bashar Assad and said a decision by Western and Arab countries on Saturday to arms those rebels would prolong the crisis and deepen the bloodshed.

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