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Syrian govt to US: No right to remove Assad

Associated Press
From left: UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, United States Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov join hands after their international conference on ending the crisis in Syria in Montreux, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Syria's main political opposition group in exile agreed on Saturday to attend internationally sponsored peace talks, and said for the first time three rebel fighting forces also wanted to take part. (AP Photo/Gary Cameron, Pool)
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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — Syria's foreign minister, directly addressing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, says no one has the right to remove Bashar Assad except Syrians.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem addressed the Wednesday opening of a peace conference on Syria just after Kerry, who said Assad had lost the legitimacy to lead and would have no place in a transitional government.

Al-Moallem also refused to give up the podium to Ban Ki-moon, telling the U.N. chief: "You live in New York, I live in Syria."

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