Washington: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no role in the future of the war-torn country and he has no other option but to go, the US has said.
"We have said that Assad must go and that there is no future for him in Syria. That is not just our opinion, but that is the will of the Syrian people that they`ve made clear, and that is for a variety of things, not the least of which is the terrible violence that he`s perpetrated on his own people," the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.
Earnest added that the United States has asked the Russians to take some responsibility to exercise the influence they have over the Assad regime in ensuring that the negotiators who appear on behalf of the Assad regime are empowered to negotiate the full transfer of executive authority from the Assad regime to a transitional government.
Syrian peace talks scheduled to take place in Geneva this month, with organisers remaining "cautiously optimistic" about their outcome.
"Those empowered negotiators are critical to us reaching the kind of solution that`s in the best interest of the Syrian people. It`s certainly in the best interest of people like Russia that have a significant stake in the outcome of this pretty troubling situation. But it`s also in the interest of those who are concerned about the continued destabilising impact that this is having on the region," said Earnest.
"The United States and our partners and our allies are certainly willing to do our part to encourage the Syrian Opposition Council to participate in a constructive way in those negotiations," he said.
Meanwhile, the State Department termed the announcement by the Syrian opposition coalition to expand its membership a "positive step"
"We view the Syrian Coalition`s announcement that it has expanded by 51 new members to a total of 114 people as a positive step. Of those 51 new seats, we understand 15 will be reserved for the Supreme Military Council and 14 will be reserved for additional grassroots activists from inside Syria," the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.