UK: Syria talks must lead to ‘transition away from Assad’

Syria’s HNC found it difficult to attend the Syria peace talks because the Syrian regime bombardment and Russian air strikes

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Britain said Monday that the U.N.-brokered peace talks on Syria being held in Geneva must lead to a political “transition away” from President Bashar al-Assad.

“Syrian peace negotiations must deliver a political transition away from Assad and end the suffering of the Syrian people,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in Amman at a joint news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh.

Hammond said he wanted “to acknowledge and welcome the difficult decision of Syria’s High Negotiations Committee” to attend the talks, referring to a Saudi-backed opposition coalition.

“That was a difficult decision for them” at a time when opposition groups affiliated to the Saudi-backed HNC were being pummeled by Syrian regime bombardment and allied Russian air strikes, he said.

Judeh, for his part, said that there was “a glimmer of hope” to end Syria’s brutal five-year conflict.

“We must follow and support” the Geneva negotiations, Jordan’s foreign minister said, reiterating that his country backed a political solution to the conflict in its neighboring Arab state.

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