FILE - In this Thursday Oct. 6, 2011 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, stands next to Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, right, during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in Damascus, Syria. Syria's state-run TV says the country's defense minister has been killed in a suicide blast in the capital. Wednesday's attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. (AP Photo/SANA, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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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