European countries plan 'last resort' Syrian peace initiative

Initiative calls for Assad's resignation, interim gov't in Syria.

Assad 311 reuters (photo credit: reuters)
Assad 311 reuters
(photo credit: reuters)
European countries will present a "last resort" initiative to avoid a US-led strike against Syria and resolve the Syrian crisis peacefully at the sidelines of the G20 Conference in St. Petersburg, Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported on Friday.
According to the report, European diplomats are working to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept the initiative, that sets three conditions to preventing the possible US strike: Syrian President Bashar Assad's resignation within three months, installing a transitional government, and finally, bringing both the Syrian government and the opposition to the Geneva peace conference.
The initiative, European sources told the paper, would save Syria from further ruin and destruction, and at the same time save the credibility of the international community.
The sources however raised doubts Assad would agree to accept this initiative.
Meanwhile, Lebanese newspaper Al Mustaqbal quoted an unnamed source as saying that after "intensive talks" with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Assad has agreed to resign under certain conditions, an offer Washington rejected.
According to the unnamed source, Assad has asked that specific mechanisms are developed in order to facilitate the quick handover of power through elections, as well as to be given assurances he will not be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court, and that he, his family and those close to him are assured a safe exit to another country.
The US administration, the source said, rejected the offer, insisting Assad stepped down without providing him guarantees, and saying it cannot make such a decision instead of the Syrian opposition.