Syria rejects proposal for Assad to lead transitional government

Britain's proposal for a transitional government have beenr ejected by Syrian information minister

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad

Syria has rejected Britain’s proposal that president Bashar al-Assad could lead a transitional government for up to six months before stepping down as part of a political solution to the country’s crisis, the Guardian reports.

The move was suggested as a means to end the wave of refugees streaming to Europe to escape the war and the idea of a transitional government is part of the 2012 Geneva principles for ending the war, but this was the first time a time period has been mentioned.

“What gives the British foreign secretary the right to decide for Syrians how long their president should stay in power?” Omran al-Zoubi, the Syrian information minister, told the Guardian.

Zoubi said Britain was following “irrational and illogical” policies by attacking the only country seriously fighting Isis and other terrorists and urging its leader to step down.

Britain’s foreign secretary Philip Hammond, said on Wednesday that the UK would take a “pragmatic” approach to a transition in Damascus.

“We are not saying Assad and all his cronies have to go on day one,” Hammond told MPs.

“In order to get Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran, on board, Britain and other western governments would agree to a transitional period of up to six months in which the president could remain in office,” he said.

Assad was re-elected last year, but Syrian opposition forces and their western supporters dismissed the poll and continue to insist that, there was no way such a brutal regime would be chosen again.

The Guardian further reports that Zoubi said Syria was capable of regaining territory it had lost in recent months and that the burden of dealing with the refugees pouring into Europe should be borne by European and American governments. He added that the crisis was there because of their policies in the region, starting from intervention in Libya to the crises in Yemen and Syria - and especially the economic sanctions imposed on it since the uprising began at the height of the Arab spring in 2011.