(AA) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and close associates have no place in the country’s political solution with “blood on their hands,” the U.S. said Friday.
Assad told a national U.S. news outlet on Friday that his regime is “open to any dialogue with anyone, including the United States, regarding anything based on mutual respect,”
“President (Obama) has said, as secretary (John) Kerry has said, Assad has lost his legitimacy,” said State Department spokesman Jeff Ratke.”Assad and his close associates, with blood on their hands, cannot be part of a political solution.”
As the Syrian civil war has entered its fifth year, the international community has failed to find a solution to the conflict that has left more than 220,000 dead and more than half of the population displaced.
Rathke said Assad has the ability to stop the torture and the systematic murder, sexual violence, detainment, barrel bombings, airstrikes and chlorine attacks against Syrians.
“President Assad could stop the conflict in Syria right now, by demonstrating a willingness for his regime to engage in meaningful dialogue with the opposition that would lead to a genuine political solution consistent with the Geneva Communiqué,” he said.
The 2012 UN-led Geneva Communique is a six-point plan to end the war in Syria that includes the establishment of a transitional government.
But as opposition forces have gradually lost ground against the Assad regime, two rounds of talks in the Swiss cities of Geneva and Montreaux failed to produce a deal for Syria.
Noting that here is a need to return to a diplomatic solution consistent with the principles of the Communiqué, Rathke suggested representatives of the Assad regime would need to be part of the process.
“But we’ve seen no indication of any readiness on the part of the regime to engage consistent with those principles,” he added.