The Syrian foreign minister also said any deal reached in eventual talks with the opposition would have to be put to a referendum, introducing a new condition that could complicate efforts by the U.S. and Russia to bring the two sides together in Geneva, possibly next month.
While Syria has said that it will "in principle" attend the conference, the fractured political opposition has not yet announced whether it will attend or not, despite more than a week of meetings in Turkey to devise a strategy for Geneva talks.
Leading opposition members have said they would only attend the conference if Assad's departure from power tops the agenda, a demand on which sponsors Russia and the U.S. appear to disagree.
Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed.
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