Reuters International

Former Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab talks with Arab League head Nabil El-Arabi (not in picture) during their meeting in Cairo February 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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LONDON (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power after six months of negotiations on a transitional government, opposition negotiator Riyad Hijab said on Wednesday in London as he presented his group's road map for peace in Syria.

Hijab is the general coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee, the main opposition group involved in stalled U.N.-mediated peace talks in Geneva, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and western powers opposed to Assad's rule.

The proposed process would start with six months of negotiations to set up a transitional administration made up of figures from the opposition, the government and civil society. The transitional body would then run the country for 18 months, at the end of which there would be elections.

"This transitional period will begin with the departure of Bashar al-Assad and his clique, and of course those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people," Hijab said.

(Reporting by William James, writing by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Kate Holton)

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