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Kerry Says Negotiations Only Way to End Syrian Bloodshed

Efforts to end two-and-a-half years of bloodshed in Syria are meeting with complications that could further delay a negotiated settlement.

Officials from 11 nations known as the Friends of Syria met Tuesday with members of the Syrian opposition in London. But despite urging from both the United States and Britain, the Syrian opposition has yet to agree to attend a hoped for conference in Geneva.

Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba said there can be no talks until there is a clear plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave.

''If some countries would feel the discomfort from the humanitarian situation, due to al-Assad's massacres and wish to wash their hands at the expense of dirtying our hands with a humiliating position, you will hear us say no five times rather than three. No negotiations, no reconciliation, no recognition, no retreat and no to international isolation. However, if the aim was to remove the criminal from power and the war criminals are tried, then we welcome Geneva 2. These are our true demands and this is where we stand, and to build on these principles, together we will rid Syria and the region of the spreading fire. These are requests not conditions. But Geneva 2 cannot be a success without these.''

U.S. and British officials again urged all sides to sit down and talk, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague adding Mr. Assad will eventually have to step down.

"We are as clear as he is that Assad has no role in a peaceful and democratic Syria."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also warned against pursuing an armed end to the conflict.

"We believe the path of war will simply lead to the implosion of the state of Syria. It will lead to the rise of extremist groups and extremism itself. It will lead to more refugees spilling over the borders and putting strains on surrounding countries. And it will further destabilize the region and lead ultimately to the disintegration of the Syrian state."

The fighting in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people and forced millions from their homes since March 2011.

President Assad further cast doubts on possible peace talks in an interview that aired Monday night on Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV.

"There is no date or factors that will help for it [the conference] to be held. Who are the groups that will participate in Geneva? What is their relationship with the Syrian people? Do they represent the Syrian people? Do they represent the country that made them?"

Mr. Assad also said he sees no reason why he should not run for reelection in 2014.

Tuesday's meeting in London brought together officials from Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

A communique issued following the meeting said the 11 nations would continue to "channel support to the National Coalition and the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army."

Secretary Kerry has been working with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to try to arrange peace talks in Geneva by the end of next month.

is that Assad has no role in a peaceful and democratic Syria."
3. British Foreign Secretary William Hague saying:
"Sectarianism and extremism are growing all the time this conflict goes on and that's why it's important we work so closely with them , that we don't abandon them, that we keep faith with them."))

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