Syrian President Bashar Assad outlined a peace plan to end his country's civil war on Sunday, though it is unlikely to be seen as a sufficient offer by the opposition, the Associated Press reports.
In a one-hour speech to the nation in which he appeared confident and relaxed, Assad ignored international demands for him to step down and said he is ready to hold a dialogue but only with those "who have not betrayed Syria." He offered a national reconciliation conference, elections and a new constitution but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels trying to overthrow him first.
The proposal, however, is unlikely to win acceptance from Syria's opposition forces, including rebels on the ground, who have repeatedly said they will accept nothing less than the president's departure, dismissing any kind of settlement that leaves him in the picture. On top of that, Assad's new initiative is reminiscent of symbolic changes and concessions that his government made earlier in the uprising, which were rejected at the time as too little too late.