Saudi Arabia envisions no Iran role in ending crisis

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There can only be peace in Syria once the country’s President Bashar Assad steps down, said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Monday.
Addressing a joint press conference here with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Al-Jubeir said that Assad’s hands were “stained with the blood of the Syrian people and should have no role in a future government.”
Steinmeier arrived here on a two-day visit on Sunday and met Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and other senior officials at Al-Yamamah Palace on Monday morning to discuss bilateral cooperation.
Al-Jubeir accused Assad of displacing millions, killing hundreds of thousands and destroying the country’s security and stability. Assad was supported by Iran and should relinquish power if there is any hope that peace can be restored in Syria.
Al-Jubeir said it was difficult to envision a role for Iran in Syria peacemaking efforts due to its military role in the conflict there.
“Iran must comply with the agreement it reached with the 5+1 countries on its nuclear deal and refrain from all negative tactics in order to restore peace in Syria and Yemen,” the minister said. He said the coalition forces recently caught an Iranian ship smuggling arms and ammunition to the rebels in Yemen. “Is this the way a responsible country aspiring to a nuclear deal should behave? It only confirms the concerns raised by Gulf countries,” he said.
Iran can only play a role in future talks in Syria if it withdraws from the country and stops supplying weapons to Assad’s regime. This includes the withdrawal of the Shiite militias currently operating there, he said.
Steinmeier said that Syria has “no future” if Assad remains in power. “It is a dilemma that needs to be addressed to restore peace and order in Syria.” He said Iran should also act more responsibly to resolve issues in the region.
He also blamed the lack of cooperation between Washington and Moscow for the escalating situation in Syria. He said Syrians living outside their country would like to return to their homeland, but it was unfortunate that little has been done to address this issue.
He expressed the hope that there could be peace in Yemen now that the Houthis are prepared to enter negotiations.

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