The Syrian government has condemned the European Union's criticism of its presidential election as a "violation" of its national sovereignty.

The EU described Tuesday's poll, which saw President Bashar al-Assad secure nearly 90 percent of the vote, as "illegitimate".

Syria's Foreign Ministry criticised the EU's comments and told the AFP news agency they amounted to "a flagrant violation of international law, which stipulates respect of the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their affairs".

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"The EU's position is contrary to basic principles of democracy and respect for the right of peoples to elect their leaders and decide their future at the ballot box," the ministry said.

Assad was elected to a new seven-year term in an election that was declared a "farce" by the Western-backed opposition.

The two other candidates, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, won 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent of the votes.

Voting took place only in government-controlled areas and came despite three years of a brutal civil conflict which has killed more than 162,000 people.

Allies of Assad, including Russia and Iran, praised the vote and insisted that it showed popular support for the president.

Source: AFP