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Kerry: Assad Will Not Be Part Of Transitional Government


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, announced their new Syrian peace initiative in Moscow on May 7.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have to step down as part of any political solution in Syria.

Kerry made the comments to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Rome.

He said the United States still believes Assad cannot be part of a transitional government in Syria.

During a visit to Moscow on May 7, Kerry agreed with Russian leaders to convene a new international conference to try to end the 26-month-old Syrian conflict.

Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the conference could be held by the end of May.

They said it would build on an accord agreed by world powers last year, which did not spell out Assad's fate.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed news that Russia and the United States will seek new peace talks.

Opposition leaders are skeptical of any initiative they fear may let Assad hang on to power.

Syria's opposition rejects any role for Assad or his inner circle.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters