Assad slammed by critics for his peace plan

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressed the nation, amidst growing violence and insecurity in the country on Sunday.

Updated: Jan 06, 2013, 23:21 PM IST

Damascus: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad proposed a plan to resolve the country`s crisis which includes a national reconciliation conference, the formation of a new government and an amnesty on Sunday.
"The first stage of a political solution would require that regional powers stop funding terrorists.

The second stage will be calling a government conference on a national dialogue," Assad said in a speech at the opera house here Sunday.

Though the opposition remained critical of whatever Assad said and condemned his speech.

As per a BBC report, Walid Bunni, spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, said "The opposition rejects his political solution".

They made clear that whatever Assad said means that the war will continue and he will continue killing innocent countrymen.

Britain`s Foreign Secretary, William Hague condemned the speech by stating it as "Beyond hypocritical".

The critics of Assad thus came down heavily on his attempts to restore calm in the country.

The third stage, he said, would be the formation of a new government and declaration of an amnesty.

In his rare televised speech, Assad denounced the opposition as "puppets of the West" and said Syria wanted to negotiate with the "master not the servants". He said the reconciliation conference would exclude "those who have betrayed Syria".

Assad also thanked Russia, China and Iran for their support of Syria and their stance that the Syrian people should alone decide their faith. "We salute you and we thank you for your support," he said.

According to UN figures, at least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria`s conflict between government forces and the opposition, which comprises groups of all stripes, from Communists and secular liberals to Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda.

Western powers have insisted on President Assad`s departure before the formation of a new government of national unity while Russia insisted that the decision be left to the "Syrian people".