9 Jan 2017

Syrian govt ready to negotiate on 'everything', Assad says

10:04 pm on 9 January 2017

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his government is ready to negotiate on "everything" in proposed peace talks in Kazakhstan but says it is not yet clear who will represent the opposition and no date has been set.

Syrian civilians from the al-Sukari neighbourhood flee on December 14 2016.

Civilians flee a neighbourhood in Aleppo badly damaged by fighting (14 December 2016). Photo: AFP

The president also said a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia, his most powerful ally, ahead of the talks was being violated, and the army's role was to recapture an area near Damascus where insurgents controlled the main water supply for the capital.

Asked if the government was ready to discuss his position as president, he said yes but said his position was linked to the constitution.

"If they want to discuss this point they must discuss the constitution," he said.

He indicated that any constitutional matter must be put to a referendum, and it was up to the Syrian people to elect the president.

- Reuters

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