Beirut: Syrian President Bashar Assad says he won`t step down before elections are held in his war-ravaged country.
The Syrian leader`s comments, published on Saturday in the Argentine newspaper Clarin, highlight the difficulties the US and Russia face in getting the Assad regime and Syria`s political opposition to the table at an international conference envisioned for June.
The country`s main opposition group has demanded that these talks lead to Assad`s departure.
However, Assad says such a dialogue shouldn`t "decide a matter that has not been decided by the people."
Assad likened himself to a ship captain in turbulent seas, saying: "I am not someone who flees from my responsibilities."