Damascus rejects any discussion of presidency at talks

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem talks during a news conference in Damascus, Syria February 6, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

The Syrian government said on Saturday it would not hold talks with any party wishing to discuss the question of the presidency, calling President Bashar al-Assad a “red line” as it confirmed its participation in U.N.-led peace talks next week.

“We will not talk to anyone who talks about the position of the presidency. Bashar is a red line, the property of the Syrian people,” Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said during a televised news conference in Damascus. “I advise them that if this is their thinking, they shouldn’t come to the talks.”