(AA) – Turkey has rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that the U.S. will eventually negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“What is there to negotiate with Assad?” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. “His regime killed more than 200,000 people and used chemical weapons.”
On Sunday, Kerry told CBS News the U.S. would “have to negotiate in the end” with the Syrian government.
“What we’re pushing for is to get him to come and do that and it may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds in order to do that,” Kerry told the U.S. network.
Cavusoglu said the Assad regime lay at the root of the violence in Syria, adding: “Syria’s transformation needs the current regime out and a new inclusive regime to take charge.”
Turkey has been critical of any attempts to co-opt the Syrian regime in the fight against militant group Daesh, which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq over the past year. Among Turkey’s suggested solutions to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Syria are a no-fly zone and protected “safe zones” in Syria for refugees, as well as the removal of Assad.
Cavusoglu, who is touring three Southeast Asian nations, said bilateral relations between Turkey and Cambodia were increasing. “I believe my visit obtained its goal to boost these relations,” he said.
On Monday, Cavusoglu was received by the National Assembly President Heng Samrin. According to diplomatic sources, the two officials talked about inter-parliamentary cooperation and exchanged views on increasing economic ties.