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Monday
May202013

Syrian President Won't Go Along with International Peace Summit

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears resistant to any attempts by the international community to set up a peace summit that would work towards ending the two-year conflict in his country.

In an interview with the Argentinean newspaper Clarin, the embattled leader threw cold water on a joint U.S.-Russia effort to set up a conference in early June that would get officials from his administration and the main Syrian opposition to arrive at a ceasefire and compromise.

Once more, al-Assad blamed the West for supporting who he terms as "terrorists" trying to usurp his authority, saying, "We do not believe that many Western countries really want a solution in Syria."

According to the Syrian president, there are "hundreds" of different groups operating in Syria at the moment, making it virtually impossible to unify them.  As a result, there's no chance of a ceasefire working even if his government went along with the idea.

Al-Assad also rejected the widely held belief that his forces are being assisted by fighters from Iran and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, claiming, "We do not have fighters from outside Syria."

As for what happens for him next, the president said defiantly, "I am not someone who flees from my responsibilities," saying he would run for office again when Syria holds elections in 2014.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio