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Saudi Foreign Minister: We differ with Russia, Iran over Assad’s future

October 29, 2015 at 10:49 am

Saudi’s differences with Russia and Iran regarding Syria revolve around how and when President Bashar Al-Assad should leave power, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said yesterday.

“We must emphasise the need for Bashar Al-Assad to leave on a specified date,” Al-Jubeir said during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Riyadh.

He explained that “the date and means of Assad’s departure are important items on the table” stressing that the kingdom supports a political solution in Syria that does not include a role for Al-Assad in Syria’s future.

The Saudi minister said he discussed bilateral relations and regional developments with Hammond. “We talked about Syria’s future and possible solutions based on Geneva I, and we are committed to supporting the Syrian opposition,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hammond said that cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the field of counter-terrorism has saved thousands of lives, adding that international talks in Vienna, Austria, later this week will be a chance to see if it is possible to “bridge the gap” between Iran and Russia on one side, and other countries on Al-Assad’s role.

“If we can’t find a way to bridge the gap on the transitional government we will have to find a different way to move the situation forward,” Hammond said.

Austria will host two-days of talks beginning today to seek a political solution for Syria’s ongoing conflict.