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US: Assad Cannot Be Part of Syria's Future

  • VOA News

FILE - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen during the filming of an interview with the BBC, in Damascus, Feb. 9, 2015.

FILE - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen during the filming of an interview with the BBC, in Damascus, Feb. 9, 2015.

The Obama administration repeated its long-held policy Friday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot be part of a political solution.

Assad told CBS television Thursday that he would be open to a dialogue with the U.S., but said it must be "based on mutual respect."

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the Syrian president and his close associates have "blood on their hands." Rathke said they still have to prove they are willing to open meaningful talks with the opposition.

"He [ Assad ] has the ability to stop the torture and systematic murder, sexual violence, detainment, barrel bombings, airstrikes, and chlorine attacks," Rathke said. "He could stop rejecting the calls of his people for reform in freedom and dignity.......I think it's quite clear what needs to happen for progress in Syria."

Assad told CBS that he has seen nothing "concrete" regarding the U.S. political approach toward solving the Syrian crisis.

But he said "Every dialogue is a positive thing, and we are going to be open to any dialogue with anyone, including the United States, regarding anything based on mutual respect."

The 2012 Geneva Communique for Syria calls for peace talks and a transitional government. But the main opposition alliance, the United States, Britain, and France say President Assad cannot be a part of Syria's future.

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