Saudi Arabia has said there can be no peace in Syria after President Bashar Assad steps down.
This is not the first time Saudi officials state their opposition against the Assad regime. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Monday at a joint conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier that Assad’s hand was “stained with the blood of the Syrian people.”
In addition, Al-Jubeir said Iran had no role to play in the peacemaking efforts in Syria. “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,” Arab News quoted the Saudi minister.
Al-Jubeir referred to recent reports of the coalition forces caching 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?” he said. “It only confirms the concerns raised by Gulf countries.”
According to Washington Post, Obama’s strong opposition against Assad is “one of the main points of friction between the United States and Russia in Syria.” Russia and Iran have been strong supporters of Assad while a number of countries in the West want him to step down to reach a political solution in the country.
Steinmeier is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. The German foreign minister echoed the Saudi opinion against Assad and Iran. He said Syria had “no future” with Assad and added that the Islamic republic should act more responsibly to resolve the political turmoil in the Middle East.
According to Al-Jubeir, Assad is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of his own people. He also accused the lack of cooperation between Russia and the U.S. for escalating tension in Syria.