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Assad must go, insists Kerry

Assad must go,  insists Kerry
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Rome (AFP): US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted on Thursday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have to step down as part of any political...

Rome (AFP): US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted on Thursday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have to step down as part of any political solution in Syria, as he held a third day of talks on the bloody conflict. Bashar al-AssadSpeaking as he met Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry said, "All sides were working to effect a transition government by mutual consent of both sides, which clearly means that in our judgement President Assad will not be a component of that transitional government." Kerry also officially announced USD 100 million in additional the US humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees, almost half of which will go to help Jordan struggling to cope with a tide of people fleeing the 26-month war. Some 2,000 people are flooding across the border into Jordan every day, and the country now hosts some 525,000 refugees, Judeh said at the start of the talks in Rome. Plans for an international conference to try to find a solution to the crisis were also continuing, Kerry said after he agreed in talks in Moscow that he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would work in tandem on the issue. He had spoken with most of the foreign ministers from the countries involved and there is a very positive response and a very strong desire to move to this conference and to try to find, at least exhaust the possibilities of finding, a political way forward. UN chief Ban Ki-moon had also been in touch, so, "We are going to forge ahead very, very directly to work with all of the parties to bring that conference together," Kerry added. It is hoped the conference aimed at finding a path towards a transitional government in Syria could be held by the end of May. Although no venue has yet been identified, Geneva could host the talks, he said.
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