The UK has insisted that President Bashar al-Assad does not have a place in Syria’s future, following the US conceding that it would enter negotiations with him to stop the country’s crisis.
“Assad has no place in Syria’s future,” AFP quoted a Foreign Office spokeswoman as saying on Sunday.
“As the (British) foreign secretary said last week, we will continue applying sanctions pressure to the regime until it reassesses its position, ends the violence and engages in meaningful negotiations with the moderate opposition,” she added.
The remarks were made hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry (pictured below) said in an interview that Washington would have to negotiate with Assad in order to put an end to crisis in Syria.
“Well, we have to negotiate in the end. We’ve always been willing to negotiate in the context of the Geneva I process,” Kerry said.
British officials referred to a statement by deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf which said the Kerry’s comments did not represent a US policy shift on Syria.
“@JohnKerry repeated long-standing policy that we need negotiated process w/regime at table – did not say we wld negotiate directly w/Assad,” she said via a Twitter message.
So far over 210,000 people have reportedly died in Syria, which has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011.
New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria in 2014. Nearly 4 million Syrians have left the country and 7.6 million civilians have been internally displaced.
The violence fueled by ISIL Takfiri groups has reportedly been supported by the Western powers and their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.