Syria's Assad says peace talks priority is to discuss terrorism

by Reuters
Monday, 20 January 2014 09:26 GMT

A general view of damage after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar Al-Assad in the Al-Maysar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, January 19, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan

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PARIS, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The primary objective of Syria peace talks in Switzerland this week is to discuss "the fight against terrorism", Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with AFP news agency published on Monday.

"The Geneva conference must lead to clear results regarding the fight against terrorism ... that would be the most important result of the conference. Any political result that did not include the fight against terrorism would have no value," said Assad, who is embroiled in an almost three-year-old war with rebels fighting to topple him.

He said there was a "good chance" he would run in a presidential election set for June and ruled out the opposition National Coalition obtaining any ministerial positions in a new government, calling this "totally unrealistic". (Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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