Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has informed Russia that President Bashar Assad has agreed to step down by 2014, according to a message posted by Syrian opposition member Ahmad Ramadan on Facebook.
In his post, Ramadan claimed the Americans said Assad must agree to resign within a month and a half without any guarantees to him or members of his regime. During this period, an interim government will be established and Syria's chemical weapons arsenal will be handed over to the control of a foreign entity, under American supervision.
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Arab media outlets reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was trying to promote a solution to the Syrian crisis that would also include Assad's resignation. A source who is close to the Iraqi premier told Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal that "the Syrian president has agreed to the idea of resignation, but under certain conditions." He said the US rejected the offer.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
"The intense negotiations conducted by al-Maliki with the Syrian government have resulted in Assad's agreement to resign on the condition that mechanisms will be put in place that will ease the transfer of power through speedy elections and on the condition that a guarantee is given that Assad will not be tried at the International (Criminal) Court," said the source, who added that under the agreement, "Assad, his family and associates will be able to leave Syria for another country."
The Iraqi source said Washington refused and reiterated its demand that Assad resign immediately, without any guarantees.
The Russian compromise offer, according to which Syria's chemical weapons will be placed under international control and then dismantled, did not seem to impress the opposition. Salim Idris, commander of the Free Syrian Army, said: "The Syrian regime is misleading in order to gain time."
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