Syria's Assad Dismisses John Kerry's Remarks On Negotiations

03/16/2015 08:03 am ET | Updated May 16, 2015

BEIRUT, March 16 (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dismissed on Monday remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Assad should be included in negotiations to reach a political transition, saying "declarations from outside do not concern us."

"We are still hearing the declarations and we should wait for actions and then decide," Assad said in comments broadcast on Syrian state television.

In a Sunday CBS interview, Kerry did not repeat the standard U.S. line that Assad had lost all legitimacy and had to go. "We have to negotiate in the end," Kerry said when asked whether the United States would be willing to negotiate with Assad.

Kerry said the United States and other countries, which he did not name, were exploring ways to reignite the diplomatic process to end the conflict in Syria, which has left more than 200,000 dead.

"What we're pushing for is to get him (Assad) to come and do that, and it may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds in order to do that," Kerry said.

Assad said that any international change in attitude regarding the situation Syria found itself in would be positive.

But he said foreign countries should end for support for terrorist groups in Syria, a term Damascus uses for insurgents who have been fighting the army and allied militia for four years. (Reporting by Oliver Holmes, Samia Nakhoul and Dahlia Nehme)

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