Printed on: January 08, 2013

Assad speech criticized


BEIRUT (AP) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed disappointment with Syrian President Bashar Assad for rejecting the most important elements of an international roadmap to end the country's civil war -- a political handover and establishment of a transitional governing body.

Assad in a rare speech Sunday outlined his own vision for ending the conflict with a plan that would keep him in power. He also dismissed any chance of dialogue with the armed opposition and called on Syrians to fight what he called "murderous criminals."

The West, including the U.S. and Britain, denounced Assad's speech, which came amid stepped-up international efforts for a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Assad of "state terrorism" and called on him to relinquish power.