Syria's government on Thursday accused UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi of "flagrant bias" against it after the veteran diplomat dismissed a mooted plan by President Bashar al-Assad as "one-sided".
"Syria is shocked by the statements of Lakhdar Brahimi, who has overstepped his mandate and exhibited a flagrant bias for those parties known to be conspiring against Syria and its people," the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement broadcast by state television.
Brahimi said on Wednesday that Assad's new road map for his embattled country is "more sectarian, more one-sided" than previous initiatives to end the nearly 22-month conflict in Syria that the UN estimates has left over 60,000 dead.
"What has been said this time is not really different and it is perhaps even more sectarian, more one-sided," the veteran diplomat said.
"What you need is reaching out and recognising that there is a... very serious problem between Syrians, and that Syrians have got to talk to one another to solve it," he said.
Assad's three-step plan for a "political solution" in Syria, outlined in a speech to his supporters on Sunday, was swiftly rejected by the opposition and Western nations as being detached from reality.
The plan offered dialogue with the opposition to end the conflict -- but only with elements he deemed acceptable, not rebel-affiliated groups he termed "killers" and "terrorists" manipulated by foreign powers.
Referring to the so-called Arab Spring that has swept the region since late 2010, Brahimi said: "Now people want to have a say in how they are governed. They want to take hold of their own future.
"In Syria in particular, what people are saying is that one family ruling for 40 years is a little bit too long."
The stinging comments came ahead of talks in Geneva on Friday between Brahimi and US and Russian officials.