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U.S. condemns Assad 'Western puppets' speech

  • The United States has condemned a speech by Syrian President Bashar al- Assad that dismissed his opponents as "puppets of the West".

    The state department said a peace plan highlighted by Assad was "detached from reality" and labeled it as "another attempt by the regime to cling to power".

    Meanwhile, the European Union reacted to the speech by maintaining that Assad had "to step aside and allow for a political transition".

    He described his opponents as "enemies of God and puppets of the West" and said Syria wanted to negotiate with the "master not the servants".

    He added that Syria had not rejected diplomatic moves but reiterated it would not negotiate with people with "terrorist" ideas.

    Assad also set out a plan for a national dialogue conference as well as a referendum on a national charter.

    Sunday's televised speech was Assad's first public address since June.

    According to the United Nations, more than 60,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Assad, which began in March 2011.

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