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BEIRUT, February 26 (Itar-Tass) — A referendum on the draft of a new republican Constitution “will give a powerful impetus to the democratic process that will determine Syria’s future”, says a statement by an official source, circulated by the SANA news agency on Saturday.
The report says that the Syrian government “calls on the popular masses to understand the responsibility and take the most active part in the plebiscite whose successful implementation will open the road to new stages on the way of progress”.
The statement contains a call to opposition segments that did not go to the anti-Syrian conference in Tunisia last Friday, “to join urgently the national dialogue and to become active participants in building a renewed Syria”. The statement means, above all, the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB).
Its supporters received an invitation, but refused to go to the Tunisian forum, sponsored, in the opinion of Damascus, “by those who back the terrorist plot against Syrian people”.
However, NCB leader Hassan Abdel Azim, a veteran of the dissident movement, also stood out against “any action, showing popular will in Syria under conditions when the authorities resort to violence and repression”.
The official source put the responsibility for the continued bloodshed on “armed groups of gunmen, supported by some Arab and Western countries”. He called on behalf of the Syrian government “on all who turn weapons against civilians, to come to senses and to stop destroying the country to suit enemies of their people and the Arab nation”.