Syrian President Bashar Assad said the United States and Saudi Arabia wanted “terrorist groups” to join peace talks proposed by world powers, and that nobody in Syria would accept such talks, in an interview transcript published by state media.
Asked whether he would be willing to join negotiations called for by world powers by Jan. 1, he said: “They want the Syrian government to negotiate with terrorists, something I don’t think anyone would accept in any country.”
They were Assad’s first comments since Syrian opposition groups including armed rebels met in Saudi Arabia this week to draw up a common platform for negotiations. Asked whether he would be willing to negotiate with the groups, he said:
“Whenever they want to change their approach, give up the armaments, we are ready, while to deal with them as a political entity, this is something we completely refuse.”