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Syria 'will not make new concessions at Geneva peace talks'

The Syrian government will not make any new concessions in future peace talks, a senior official has insisted.

Hilal al-Hilal, a senior official in Syrian President Bashar Assad's ruling Baath party, made the comments to state media ahead of scheduled peace talks in Geneva to work on ending Syria's nearly five-year conflict, which has killed more than 250,000 people.

The talks, which were to begin on Monday but will likely be delayed, are part of a UN plan that envisions an 18-month timetable for a political transition.

The Syrian opposition says Assad should have no role in Syria's future, even during a transitional period. Assad, whose family has governed Syria for more than four decades, has said he will only step down if voted out.

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