Assad sacks vice premier for unauthorized meeting

Assad sacks vice premier for unauthorized meeting
Tue Oct 29, 2013 19:11:00

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sacked his vice premier for being absent without leave and carrying out unauthorized meetings abroad.

The move follows media reports that Vice Premier Qadri Jamil had met with the US pointman for Syria Robert Ford on Saturday to discuss proposed Geneva peace talks, the official SANA news agency said.

Sana said the official was sacked after an "absence without authorization from his post" as well as "activities and meetings outside the country without authorization from the government."

The United States and Russia have been struggling to convince Syria's warring parties to attend peace talks in Geneva next month aimed at ending the foreign-backed war which has killed more than 115,000 people.

UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was in Damascus Tuesday as part of a regional tour to rally support for the talks between the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition to end the deadly war.

The talks remain in doubt, however, with Syria's increasingly fractured rebels having yet to say whether they will attend.

Syrian government has said that it is ready for talks with no pre-conditions.

The main opposition National Coalition has said it will not take part in the Geneva talks unless Assad's resignation is on the table -- a demand rejected by Damascus -- while several rebel groups have warned that anyone who attends will be considered a traitor.

The widely divided opposition which has offshoots of al-Qaeda battling for it as its strongest armed wings pressures over Assad’s departure while it has never proposed a plan for the government in case Assad leaves.

The opposition lost much of its popularity following its cooperation with al-Nusra Front which has pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following intervention of western and regional states.


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