Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid Al Mu’allem, on Saturday rejected suggestions that the future of President Bashar Al Assad should be decided during a possible peace conference in Geneva in November; saying that Al Assad intends to run for another presidential term in 2014.
Al Mu’allem said during a press statement made on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting that “there is no room to discuss the future of President Al Assad. This is a matter that would be determined by the Syrian Constitution.” Al Mu’allem asserted that Al Assad intends to complete his current term and run for another term in 2014. Mr Mu’allem is scheduled to meet with representatives of the opposition during the Geneva conference in order to form a fully empowered transitional government. This arrangement is expected to open the door to the possibility of Al Assad leaving power, as demanded by Western countries and the Syrian opposition.
The UN has, meanwhile, announced its determination to convene the conference by mid-November.
Commenting on the Security Council resolution issued on Friday concerning Syria’s chemical weapons, Al Mu’allem said it does not pose a problem for his country’s government. He affirmed that the UN resolution provided for the possible application of Chapter VII of the UN Charter against those he described as “terrorists”; a term used by the Syrian authorities to refer to the armed opposition.
The UN resolution obliges the Syrian regime to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenal within a few months, with the possibility of sanctions if it fails to fulfil its commitments.