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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Foreign media arrive for North Korea nuclear site closing

    World News CTV News
    WONSAN, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - Foreign journalists have arrived in North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. South Korean media initially scheduled to join were not allowed onto Tuesday's charter flight from Beijing. Source
  • Depression preceded fatal crash into N.C. restaurant, pastor says

    World News CTV News
    BESSEMER CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina man accused of crashing a car into a restaurant table full of loved ones, killing two, had suffered for weeks with depression and previously asked his family to take his guns away, his pastor says. Source
  • Australian archbishop convicted of child sex abuse cover-up

    World News CBC News
    An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday and faces a potential two years in prison. Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial. Source
  • Thousands of Rohingya rape victims expected to give birth

    World News CTV News
    Tens of thousands of pregnant Rohingya women, many of whom are believed to be victims of rape, are expected to give birth in the coming weeks in squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh. Since August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled systematic violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar for neighbouring Bangladesh in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has labelled a “textbook example of ethnic cleaning. Source
  • What happened to MH370? Canadian duo believe they have the answer

    World News CTV News
    The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has baffled investigators for more than four years, but a pair of retired Canadian air crash investigators believe they’ve found the answer. On March 8, 2014, the passenger jet carrying 239 people was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing but crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Source
  • 13 cottages near Meadow Lake, Sask. destroyed by wildfire

    Canada News CBC News
    The Tuff wildfire still ablaze in central Saskatchewan destroyed all the cottages in one subdivision over the weekend. Wayne Pearson, who owns a property at Flotten Lake, said a spokesperson with the Meadow Lake Provincial Park called him Sunday morning to say all 13 cottages had been destroyed. Source
  • Baboon escapes crate at Texas airport; officers corner him

    World News CTV News
    SAN ANTONIO - A baboon on his way to a South Texas wildlife sanctuary escaped his crate and kept officers busy for two hours at San Antonio International Airport. Officers shot the baboon named Dawkins with a tranquilizer dart. Source
  • Rescuers helped injured B.C. landslide victims through waist-deep mud, debris

    Canada News CBC News
    Gabe Rosescu remembers waking up hanging from his seatbelt, groaning and barely able to see. Before he blacked out, he was travelling down a B.C. highway with his partner, Sheri Niemegeers. Sask. couple swept away by B.C. Source
  • FBI, U.S. Justice Department to 'review' classified info sought by lawmakers

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The White House said Monday that top FBI and Justice Department officials have agreed to meet with congressional leaders and "review" highly classified information the lawmakers have been seeking as they scrutinize the handling of the Russia investigation. Source
  • Cuban plane crash death toll rises to 111 as 2 survivors still in critical condition

    World News CBC News
    Cuban state media say a 23-year-old survivor of Friday's plane crash in Havana has died, raising the death toll to 111. Gretell Landrove Font died Monday afternoon of extensive injuries suffered in the crash of the Boeing 737 that was rented from a Mexican company by Cuba's national airline, Cubana, state radio and television stations announced. Source