Washington: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sacked a deputy prime minister who met Western officials to discuss the possibility of holding a peace conference.
The decree was the latest blow to diplomatic efforts to bring Syria`s warring parties to the negotiating table.
According to CBS News, Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil was fired after a weekend meeting in Geneva that Washington says was with its ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford.
Syria sacked Jamil for holding talks without the permission of the Assad regime.
A US official said that the meeting held on October 26 was to discuss the possibility of holding a conference next month, also in Geneva, to negotiate a settlement to Syria`s conflict.
Three days later, Assad issued a decree relieving Jamil of his duties for `undertaking activities and meetings outside the homeland without coordination with the government`.
Jamil told Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV that he also met with a Russian diplomat and UN officials.