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US working to convince Assad to accept 'inevitable' departure: Kerry

Published on Feb 14, 2013 6:00 AM
 
US Secretary of State John Kerry answers a question duirng a joint press briefing with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh following their bilateral meeting at the Department of State in Washington, DC, on Feb 13, 2013. Washington aims to change Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's belief that he can hang onto power and accept "the inevitability" of his departure, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. -- PHOTO: aFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington aims to change Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's belief that he can hang onto power and accept "the inevitability" of his departure, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

"We need to address the question of President Assad's calculation currently," Mr Kerry told reporters. "I believe there are additional things that can be done to change his current perception." The new top US diplomat said he would not go into specifics in public, but has a "good sense" of possible proposals.

Speaking after talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Mr Kerry said he was convinced there was a certain "inevitability" given the current state of the conflict. "Now, that hasn't sunk into him yet, obviously," Mr Kerry added.

Although the top US diplomat has yet to outline the contours of his first foreign trip, he said one of his purposes was to "try to see what can be done with respect to that calculation and how we might be able to affect it." The United States is working for a negotiated solution to the 23-month conflict in which some 70,000 people are said to have died, Mr Kerry said.

 
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