DAMASCUS, Syria, March 31 (UPI) -- The Syrian government said it has formed a committee to examine lifting the country's 48-year-old state of emergency, the Syrian Arab News Agency said Thursday.
The committee will "study and draw up a legislation that secures the preservation of the country's security, the dignity of citizens and combating terrorism in preparation for lifting the state of emergency," a statement released by SANA said.
Comprised of "senior lawyers," the committee is expected to complete its study by April 25, the news agency said.
The announcement came less than a day after President Bashar Assad delivered a 50-minute speech before the Parliament, in which he failed to address reforms or the lifting of the emergency laws imposed in 1963, key demands made by anti-government protesters in recent weeks.
It was Assad's first public speech since the outbreak of anti-government protests in Syria that have killed and injured scores.
"Syria is facing a great conspiracy whose tentacles extend to some nearby countries and far-away countries, with some inside the country," Assad said.
"The conspirators are few in numbers, this is natural … even we in the government did not know like everybody else and did not understand what was happening until acts of sabotage started to emerge," SANA, which published the entire speech, quoted Assad saying.