Middle East

Kerry urges opposition to attend Syrian conference

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, on January 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS / POOL

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry is urging the Syrian opposition to attend a conference next week in Switzerland aimed at finding a political resolution to the civil war there, which has claimed more than 120,000 lives.

The opposition groups will vote Friday on whether to attend the peace talks.

The opposition says the talks at the conference should lead to a transitional government that would see Syrian President Bashar Assad step down.

The government rejects the demand and says Assad may run for re-election.

Kerry said Thursday that the leader of Syria going forward must be agreed upon by both parties and that it is inconceivable that the opposition would ever agree to allowing Assad, who is accused of brutally fighting against his own people, to lead the nation.





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