- Special Pages
DAMASCUS: Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad is to make a rare speech today even as the US deployed missiles along the Turkish border.
The US military said deployment of Patriot missiles was to help Turkey defend itself against any threat from Syria. The Patriot systems are expected to become operational later this month.
Assad last spoke on June 3 when he addressed parliament in Damascus. The pro-Syrian Lebanese daily, Al Akhbar, said Assad was ready to offer a “solution” to the conflict.
Citing anonymous sources, the paper said Assad may submit a five-point plan that would not preclude him from contesting the next presidential election when his current term ends in 2014.
The plan also provides a ceasefire, allowing international observers to monitor its application, a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution, forming a national government and holding free elections for a new parliament, it said.
During his latest visit to Damascus, UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had mentioned a plan, based on the Geneva declaration, that talked of a ceasefire, forming a government and holding parliamentary and presidential polls.
The Geneva plan put forward last June would see a transitional government in place, but it does not refer to Assad going — a condition the opposition insists on.
The Syrian authorities have not responded directly to Brahimi’s plan, which the envoy believes could be adopted by the international community, but have said that they are ready to respond to any plan through dialogue. AFP