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Saudi Minister Tells Lavrov Riyadh Rejects Any Anti-IS Coalition With Assad

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has told the Kremlin that Riyadh will not join any coalition against Islamic State (IS) militants if the coalition includes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Jubeir made the remarks during talks in Moscow on August 11 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He said Riyadh's position on the conflict in Syria has not changed and that there was no place for Assad in the future of Syria.

Russia is a long-standing ally of Assad and rejects calls for Assad to step down.

Russian and Iran, Saudi Arabia's rival in the Middle East, are both trying to form an international coalition through the United Nations that includes Assad's regime.

Lavrov said he and Jubeir agreed on August 11 to “practical steps” aimed at preparing “the most optimal conditions” for resuming a UN-brokered dialogue between the Syrian government and “the entire Syrian opposition.”

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, TASS, and Interfax