Monday, May 21, 2018

U.N. chief disappointed in Syrian President Assad's speech

BEIRUT, Lebanon — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on Monday expressed disappointment with Syrian President Bashar Assad for rejecting the most important elements of an international road map to end the country's civil war — a political handover and establishment of a transitional governing body.

Assad in a rare speech Sunday outlined his own vision for ending the country's conflict with a plan that would keep him in power. He also dismissed any chance of dialogue with the armed opposition and called on Syrians to fight what he called "murderous criminals."

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday that the secretary-general is disappointed that Assad's speech "does not contribute to a solution that could end the terrible suffering of the Syrian people." Nesirky said Ban and U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will continue to work for a political transition that leads to U.N.-organized elections.

The West, including the United States and Britain, denounced Assad's speech.

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