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Syria president insists he is loved as he condemns foreign conspiracy behind protests

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Adrian Blomfield,
London Telegraph
June 20, 2011

Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, has blamed the unrest gripping his country on foreign conspirators and Islamic extremists, insisting that his people loved him more than ever.

Addressing Syrians for the first time in more than two months, Mr Assad mixed defiance with the language of conciliation, but the concessions he laid out looked unlikely to end the uprising against him.

Striking a more emollient note than he has done since the crisis erupted more than three months ago, the president acknowledged that many Syrians had legitimate grievances with a government that was blighted by corruption and lack of transparency.

Raising the prospect of far-reaching changes, he again hinted at the possibility of introducing genuine multi-party politics and pledged that a “dialogue” on constitutional reform would be completed within two months, although he did not specify when it would begin.

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This article was posted: Monday, June 20, 2011 at 8:03 am

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