US reiterates its view that Assad should go

US State Department spokesman Kirby repeats US view on removing Syria's Bashar al Assad from power after Russia claimed they agreed not to discuss his future

Photo by: YouTube
Photo by: YouTube

The photo is grabbed from US Department of State YouTube account which shows Spokesman John Kirby speaking at a press conference.

The Obama administration maintained on Friday that Syria's Bashar al Assad shouldn't lead the country any longer, rejecting a Russian claim that the US has changed its position.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov claimed on Friday that the US agreed not to discuss of the future of Assad, adding it “should not be on the agenda at this stage."

"Any suggestion that we have changed in any way our view of Assad's future is false. Assad has lost his legitimacy to govern. We haven't changed our view on that," said the US State Department spokesman John Kirby.

The US and Russia have agreed on a draft to call for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, which began on February 27.

The deal does not include DAESH, the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and any other militias designated as terrorist group by the UN Security Council.

Russian-backed Syrian regime and Western-supported rebels recently concluded a round of peace talks and will meet again next month.

Secretary of State John Kerry visited President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials in the Kremlin this week to plot the next steps.

Russia and the United States agreed at the talks on Thursday to use their influence over the opposite sides in the Syrian conflict to speed up progress towards a political solution.

The US softened demands last year for Assad's immediate departure, but still insists he should resign at some point in a political transition process.

Russia says outside powers shouldn't try to determine Syria's leadership.

Assad has offered no indication he is willing to leave power.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research released a report saying that 470,000 Syrians have been killed and 1,900,000 others injured, which made up nearly 11.5 percent of the Syrian population, in the five-year-old civil war.

The fighting also has spawned Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II and has led to the emergence of the DAESH terrorist group.

TRTWorld and agencies