Syrian Official: No New Concessions During Peace Talks

BEIRUT (AP) -

A senior official in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ruling Baath party says the government will not make any new concessions in future peace talks.

Hilal al-Hilal’s comments come ahead of the peace talks scheduled to take place in Geneva.The objective of the talks is to work on ending Syria’s nearly five-year civil war, which has killed over 250,000 people. Al-Hilal’s remarks were carried by state media Sunday.

The Geneva talks, which were to begin Monday but will likely be delayed, are part of a U.N. plan that envisions an 18-month timetable for a political transition.

The Syrian opposition says Assad should have no role in Syria’s future, even during a transitional period. Assad, whose family has governed Syria for more than four decades, says he will only step down if voted out.