File - Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. (REUTERS/SANA)
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Syrian state media dismissed as "not accurate" a report by news agency Interfax that President Bashar al-Assad told visiting Russian parliamentarians he has no intention of giving up power and the issue is not up for discussion.The comments attributed to Assad underscore differences between participants ahead of the Jan. 22 talks in Montreux, Switzerland, seen as the most serious global effort yet to end Syria's three-year conflict, during which Assad has enjoyed Russia's protection.The United Nations hopes the talks will bring about a political transition in the country, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that Syria's future had no place for Assad.Syria, however, said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week that its focus at the peace conference would be on fighting "terrorism".
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