Moscow insists that Assad's ideas be taken into account

Moscow has insisted that, in seeking a settlement formula for the conflict in Syria, the international community take into account ideas put forward by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a speech on Sunday.

"The Russian side expects that the search for forms of international support for the settlement process of the acute domestic crisis in Syria will have an effective continuation, including on the basis of the Action Group's Geneva communique of June 30, 2012, and with account taken of ideas expressed in a speech of the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar al-Assad, on Jan. 6," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"In particular, the Syrian leader reaffirmed that he stood ready to launch an inter-Syrian dialogue and reform the country on the basis of the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a nation as proclaimed in the UN Charter, other international legal acts and the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012," the ministry said.

The ministry mentioned that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and the UN and Arab League special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi are convening in Geneva on Friday for the next round of trilateral talks on Syria under an agreement reached by Brahimi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a telephone call on Tuesday.

Earlier, Bogdanov confirmed to Interfax that such a meeting was planned for Friday.

Assad put forward a new conflict settlement plan in his speech in Damascus on Sunday. Its key points included calling a national conciliation conference, a referendum on a new Syrian constitution, parliamentary elections, and forming a new government.

The initiative has been rejected by Western-backed National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, and has come under criticism from the United States, the European Union, Germany and Britain.

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