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Syria say it won't relinquish power in peace talks

Nov 27th, 2013 - International News

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian government says it will participate in U.N.-sponsored peace talks aimed at ending the country's civil war, but insists that it is not going to the conference to hand over power.

The United Nations announced Monday that the long-delayed peace negotiations will begin Jan. 22 in Geneva. A full list of participants has yet to be decided.

Syria's Foreign Ministry says President Bashar Assad will send an official delegation to the conference. The ministry stressed that the representatives "will be going to Geneva not to hand over power to anyone" but to meet with those "who support a political solution for Syria's future."

The Syrian opposition and its Western supporters insist that Assad cannot be part of a transitional government.

Meanwhile....Egypt's state news agency says the prosecutor general has ordered a four-day detention for 24 activists detained while protesting a newly passed law criminalizing demonstrations without permits.

MENA also says the prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for two leading activists accused of inciting demonstrators. He also released more than 10 female protesters. Witnesses say the women were released in the desert in the middle of the night.

On Tuesday, security forces used water cannons to break up the demonstration outside Cairo's upper house of parliament, where protesters denounced a proposed constitutional amendment allowing military courts to try civilians.

Many observers said police behavior was reminiscent of the days former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's longtime autocrat ousted in 2011.

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