WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday once again ruled out any role for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's future transition, as peace talks slated for next Wednesday will explore means to lead Syria into this process.
"If he thinks he's going to be part of that future, it's not going to happen," the top American envoy told reporters in a joint appearance with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts at the State Department, adding that "The bottom line is we are going to Geneva to implement Geneva 1."
He was referring to the Geneva Communique adopted in June 2012 by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and four Middle East countries, which calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria to lead the country out of a protracted conflict that broke out in March 2011.
"And if al-Assad doesn't do that, he will invite greater response in various ways for various people over a period of time, " Kerry said, warning "Now we also are not out of options with respect to what we may be able to do to increase the pressure and further change the calculation."
In a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem confirmed Damascus's attendance in the upcoming talks in the Swiss city of Montreux, also known as Geneva II, but said his country's focus would be on fighting " terrorism."
"I believe as we begin to get to Geneva and begin to get into this process, that it will become clear that there is no political solution whatsoever if al-Assad is not discussing a transition," Kerry said.
Some 30 countries have been invited by the United Nations to attend the ministerial meeting in Montreux.
Opposition forces in Syria remain divided over the questions of whether and under what conditions to participate in the talks, while the U.S.-recognized Syrian National Coalition will decide by vote on Friday.
MOSCOW, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Moscow and Damascus believed no one could undermine the peace conference on Syria scheduled for later this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
Speaking to reporters after his talks with visiting Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem, Lavrov expressed Moscow's concern Syrian opposition group the National Coalition might attempt to delay the peace conference, known as Geneva-II, due to internal arguments. Full story
SANLIURFA, Turkey, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Syria's neighboring countries sheltering refugees on Friday called on the international community to consider humanitarian dimension of the Syrian crisis at Geneva II peace conference.
"Geneva II cannot be indifferent to the humanitarian dimension of the Syrian conflict and dramatic suffering of the Syrian people, " according to the second round of the Ministerial Meeting of Syria Bordering Countries' final declaration. Full story
MOSCOW, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Iran was an integral part of the upcoming international conference on the Syria crisis.
"We believe that, in any case, the Iranian side must and will be an integral part of the efforts to settle the Syrian problem," Lavrov told reporters following talks with his visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad-Javad Zarif. Full story