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New U.S. Push on Syria

New U.S. Push on Syria

Up to 12 nations are convening in Vienna to discuss new ways to end Syria's four-year civil war.

Could Iran and Russia be persuaded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should go?

The United States says a new round of international talks on Syria’s civil war would clarify whether Tehran and Moscow could eventually accept a new leadership in Damascus, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Up to 12 nations are convening in Vienna to discuss new ways to end Syria’s four-year civil war. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was due later on Thursday to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is attending high-level talks on Syria for the first time, Reuters reported.

“Those who tried to resolve the Syrian crisis have come to the conclusion that without Iran being present, there is no way to reach a reasonable solution to the crisis,” Zarif said.

Kerry said Washington was stepping up its diplomacy to end the Syrian conflict, even as it increases support for moderate rebels fighting Islamic State militants, the news agency reported.

Speaking in Washington, State Department Counselor Tom Shannon told Reuters that Kerry aimed to test whether Russia and Iran were willing to reverse course and push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power and to gauge the two countries’ commitment to fighting Islamic State. Shannon told lawmakers Kerry wanted to assess “the extent to which they are prepared to work broadly with the international community to convince Mr. Assad that during a political transition process he will have to go”.

 

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.