US reiterates unwillingness to see Syria’s al-Assad in power ‘over long-term’
WASHINGTONThe United States on Nov. 1 reiterated its stance toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying he should not stay in power over the long-term.
“We don’t want to see al-Assad be part of the long-term future of Syria,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby during a daily briefing on Nov. 1 after being asked his thoughts on al-Assad’s comments that he planned to remain president at least until his third seven-year term ends in 2021.
“I saw the comments and all I can tell you is that we’re committed, the ISSG [International Syrian Support Group] is committed, the U.N. is committed to trying to get political talks back on track so that we can get a transitional process in place. And from our view in the United States, nothing’s changed about our view that he cannot be part of the long-term future of Syria,” Kirby said.
The United States-led coalition, Gulf countries and Turkey support the Syrian rebels trying to oust al-Assad, while Russia is along with Iran one of the Syrian president’s main allies.
In an interview published on the New York Times on Nov. 1, al-Assad said he was just a “headline — the bad president, the bad guy, who is killing the good guys.”
“You know this narrative. The real reason is toppling the government. This government doesn’t fit the criteria of the United States,” he added.
Top U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, previously said al-Assad must be removed from office, adding that they did not believe the civil war in Syria would end while he remained in power.
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on Nov. 1 that a “Western failure to rein in violent Islamists” in Syria had indefinitely delayed the resumption of peace talks.
Shoigu said rebels backed by Western governments had been attacking civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo, despite a pause in Russian and Syrian air attacks.
“As a result, the prospects for the start of a negotiation process and the return to peaceful life in Syria are postponed for an indefinite period,” he added.
Commenting on Shoigu’s remarks, Kirby said Washington “does not share the same view that there’s an indefinite postponement.”