John Allen: U.S. position on Assad hasn’t changed

Retired U.S. General John Allen, special envoy for building the coalition against Islamic State, speaks to the media during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad January 14, 2015. (Reuters)

Top U.S. envoy John Allen on Wednesday affirmed Washington’s position on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has not changed following controversial remarks earlier this week by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Allen said the U.S. still wants a negotiated political settlement in Syria that excludes Assad.

"General Allen reiterated that the United States' position on Assad has not changed," the U.S. embassy in Ankara said in a statement after Allen held "constructive talks" with Turkish foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu

On Sunday, Kerry had said the U.S. would have to negotiate with Assad, though the State Department later said he was not specifically referring to the Syrian leader and that Washington would never bargain with him.

Kerry's comments drew condemnation in Turkey, one of Assad's most strident opponents, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying negotiating with the Syrian leader would be like shaking hands with Adolf Hitler.

"The United States believes that he has lost all legitimacy to govern, that conditions in Syria under his rule have led to the rise of ISIL (ISIS) and other terrorist groups, and that we continue to seek a negotiated political outcome to the Syrian conflict that does not in the end include Assad."

[With Reuters]
 

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