BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:55 P.M.) – “France has been the main supporter of terrorism in Syria from its very beginning,” said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview in Damascus on Monday.

The Syrian leader went on to say that “those who support terrorism do not have the right to talk about peace.”

Assad criticised the recently-concluded UN-backed Syria peace negotiations in Geneva, saying “people we are negotiating with in Geneva do not represent the Syrian people”. He emphasised that the talks had not made any significant progress; “I think anything is better than Geneva, because for three years Geneva has not achieved anything.”

When asked about the prospect of parliamentary elections in Syria and the role of United Nations within the country, the Syrian leader said “when there is a constitutional amendment there should be elections based on the constitution.”

He went on to say that the Syrian government “welcome[s] any role of the United Nations under the condition that it does not collide with the Syrian sovereignty.”

The latest round of Geneva peace talks, aimed at finding a solution to the nearly seven year-long conflict in Syria, concluded last week.

Russian-sponsored peace talks on Syria are set to take place in February 2018.

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