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Syria: Assad’s Status Not For Debate At Geneva Talks

CNN reports: The political future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is non-negotiable, his chief envoy said Saturday, undercutting a chief demand of rebels who are scheduled to attend negotiations next week aimed at defusing a brutal five-year war.

Assad’s status is a “red line,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Damascus, even as he confirmed that regime negotiators were prepared to attend Monday’s peace talks in Switzerland.

“They need to get rid of these illusions,” Moallem said of the rebels. “We will not negotiate with anyone on the presidency. Bashar is [a] red line and belongs to the Syrian people.”

Moallem’s comments come as the United Nations prepares to host negotiations between the Syrian regime and a main opposition group in Geneva on Monday, more than two weeks into a shaky truce that was designed in part to allow for the talks.

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