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Assad Calls For May Poll As Talks Continue To Stop Violence


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center), and Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov at the UN on March 12

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center), and Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov at the UN on March 12

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has set parliamentary elections under the country's new constitution for May 7.

The announcement was made on the Syrian parliament's website.

A constitution that allows for political pluralism was approved by referendum in February. But those participating in a yearlong uprising against Assad say the new constitution is illegitimate and insist the president must step down.

The announcement came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that any cease-fire in Syria "must be simultaneous," with both government and rebel forces stopping fighting at the same time.

Lavrov spoke after a March 12 meeting at the United Nations with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended with no agreement on how to stop the Syria bloodshed.

Turkey, meanwhile, says it plans to host an international meeting on Syria on April 2.

With AP, Reuters, and AFP reports
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