US Condemns Assad 'Western Puppets' Speech
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad denounced opponents as "enemies of God and puppets of the West" and said Syria wanted to negotiate with the "master not the servants". TV grab by BBC
The US has decried a speech by Syria's President Assad that denounced his opponents as "puppets of the West".
The state department said a peace plan outlined by Assad was "detached from reality", calling it "another attempt by the regime to cling to power".
In Washington, state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the speech was "yet another attempt by the regime to cling to power and does nothing to advance the Syrian people's goal of a political transition".
She added that the initiative "is detached from reality" and undermines efforts by international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
She repeated calls for President Assad to leave office - as did EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
"We maintain our position that Assad has to step aside and allow for a political transition," Baroness Ashton's office said in a statement.
Sunday's televised speech was Bashar al-Assad's first public address since June.
He denounced opponents as "enemies of God and puppets of the West" and said Syria wanted to negotiate with the "master not the servants".
He said Syria had not rejected diplomatic moves but insisted it would not negotiate with people with "terrorist" ideas.
Assad set out a plan involving a national dialogue conference and a referendum on a national charter.
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