World

Syrian government says it will take part in peace talks, but won't hand over power

  • UN Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi smiles as he addresses the media after the UN announced the Conference Geneva 2 following a meeting with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and the Russian deputy foreign ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, November 25, 2013.  (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

    UN Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi smiles as he addresses the media after the UN announced the Conference Geneva 2 following a meeting with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and the Russian deputy foreign ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, November 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Syrian rebel fires a weapon towards Syrian government troops loyal to President Bashar Assad in Aleppo, Syria. Syria's government and opposition will hold their first peace talks on Jan. 22 in Geneva, in an attempt to halt the nearly 3-year-old civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people, the United Nations announces. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File)

    FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Syrian rebel fires a weapon towards Syrian government troops loyal to President Bashar Assad in Aleppo, Syria. Syria's government and opposition will hold their first peace talks on Jan. 22 in Geneva, in an attempt to halt the nearly 3-year-old civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people, the United Nations announces. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File)  (The Associated Press)

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 said in a statement Wednesday that 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.