Saudi FM says Assad must leave peacefully or be forced out of power

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Syrian President Bashar Assad has two choices, "either to leave through negotiations" or be forcibly removed from power, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday, arguing that the Syrian people would not accept any other outcomes.

See Full Article

Speaking to reporters during a two-day meeting of Syrian opposition groups taking place in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Adel al-Jubeir said he hoped the various factions can come up with a common vision for Syria.

The meeting, which ends on Thursday, aims at forming a unified front ahead of proposed peace negotiations with Assad's government.

A peace plan agreed last month by 20 nations meeting in Vienna set a Jan. 1 deadline for the start of talks between Assad's government and opposition groups.

Al-Jubeir said the Riyadh convention aimed to put the opposition in a "stronger position" by agreeing on shared principles for future peace negotiations. He added that he wanted to remove any opportunity for critics to accuse the Syrian opposition of being too fragmented and lacking a vision for the future.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at a climate conference outside Paris on Thursday, said the talks in Riyadh have been "very constructive."

"I think everybody is moving in the direction that they want to rapidly get to a political process and get it under way under U.N. auspices. So we made progress but we have some tough issues to get over," he said.

Saudi Arabia has been a key backer of Sunni opposition blocs pushing for Assad's ouster throughout the nearly five year old Syria conflict. Among those participating in the meetings in Riyadh are hardline Saudi-backed groups such as Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, who had long rejected any negotiations with Assad's government while he remained in power.

The largest bloc at the meeting, with around 20 delegates, is the Western-backed opposition group known as the Syrian National Coalition. Also in attendance are representatives of the Syria-based National Coordination Body, an organization sometimes accused by other opposition members of being too conciliatory toward Assad's government.

Al-Jubeir repeated Saudi Arabia's longstanding position that Syria's president must go.

"As I said before, Bashar Assad has two solutions: Leave through negotiations, which is easier and better for all. Or he will have to leave through fighting because the Syrian people refuse that this regime and person stays in power," he said.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Iraqi residents optimistic about ISIS defeat

    World News CTV News
    CALGARY -- It's an uneasy alliance born out of necessity. Two residents of the Kurdistan region near Iraq's second-largest city say past differences are being put aside for now to defeat the Islamic State. Source
  • Teenager attacked and tossed in river recalls darkness and pain

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A teenager who was beaten, sexually assaulted and thrown in a Winnipeg river two years ago says she continues to carry physical and emotional scars. The girl, who cannot be identified under a court order, wrote a one-page victim impact statement for the sentencing hearing of her attacker. Source
  • Video shows boy, 7, punched in stomach by parent at school

    World News Toronto Sun
    A mother in Washington, D.C., was horrified to see a school surveillance video showing a man sucker-punching her seven-year-old son in the stomach. In the clip, a man casually walks over to young John Mclean and, without provocation, punches him. Source
  • Self-driving beer truck goes nearly 200 km on delivery

    World News Toronto Sun
    DENVER - Anheuser-Busch says it has completed the world’s first commercial shipment by self-driving truck, sending a beer-filled tractor-trailer on a journey of more than 120 miles through Colorado. The company says it teamed with self-driving truck maker Otto and the state of Colorado for the feat. Source
  • As Trump falters, more Republicans say they'll block Clinton

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A new fundraising email from House Speaker Paul Ryan's political operation, over former Speaker Newt Gingrich's signature, seeks money for Republican congressional candidates by calling the appeal "our very last chance to stop Pelosi and Hillary. Source
  • Supporters see Trump as ‘human Molotov cocktail’: Michael Moore

    World News Toronto Sun
    If Trump is elected the next president of the United States, frustrated, decent Americans will have have successfully launched “the biggest f--- you recorded in human history.” No, these words didn’t come from Trump or any of his surrogates - they’re all from the mouth of liberal documentarian Michael Moore. Source
  • Taco Bell terror allegedly beat mom over burrito

    World News Toronto Sun
    Logan Badgley was a very hungry young man and for the 22-year-old Tennessee man, only Taco Bell would do. But there were roadblocks to getting to Burrito Land. Badgley argued bitterly with his mom “because he wanted her debit card so he could go get some Taco Bell” and later, allegedly, beat her with a hockey stick when he had to go hungry. Source
  • CETA: After 3 missed deadlines, why isn't the Canada-EU summit cancelled?

    Canada News CBC News
    International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland's explanations yesterday seemed to be building toward a logical conclusion: Justin Trudeau isn't getting on a plane to Brussels this week to sign Canada's trade deal with the European Union. Except she didn't actually say that. Source
  • Complaint filed by common-law wife of Mexico's 'El Chapo'

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:05 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 02:10 PM EDT Source
  • Survivors describe chaotic attack at Pakistani police academy that killed 61, injured 123

    World News CBC News
    Survivors of an overnight attack that killed 61 people at a Pakistani police academy described chaotic scenes of gunfire and explosions, with militants shooting anyone they saw and cadets running for their lives and jumping from windows and rooftops. Source