President Bashar al-Assad said it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian government including opposition figures, but his opponents responded on Wednesday that no administration would be legitimate while he remained in office.

Assad, bolstered by military victory in the desert city of Palmyra, was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying a new draft constitution could be ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed.

While the distribution of portfolios and other technical issues would need to be discussed at Geneva peace talks, which resume next month, “these are not difficult questions”, Assad said.

Opposition negotiators immediately dismissed Assad’s remarks, saying that a political settlement could be reached only by establishing a transitional body with full powers, not another government under Assad.