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Originally published Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

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US quickly rejects Assad's plan to stay in power

The Obama administration is rejecting a new proposal from Syrian President Bashar Assad that would begin a peace process and keep the besieged leader in power.

The Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

The Obama administration is rejecting a new proposal from Syrian President Bashar Assad that would begin a peace process and keep the besieged leader in power.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Assad's latest plan is "detached from reality" and would only allow the regime to continue its oppression of the Syrian people.

Assad spoke Sunday in a rare public speech, outlining a new peace initiative that includes a national reconciliation conference and a new constitution. He ignored international demands to step down and pledged to continue the nearly two-year fight against rebels challenging his authoritarian rule.

Nuland says Assad has lost all legitimacy and should step aside to allow for a political solution and a democratic transition that satisfies the Syrian people.

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