Washington- Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has warned that the political transition process in Syria is going to fail unless the President Bashar al-Assad’s departure is part of the political process.
Rhodes said during a meeting with foreign correspondents, last night in Washington, that both Russia and Iran must publicly recognize Assad’s departure from power in Syria. In his response to Asharq al-Awsat, Rhodes said that the US administration declared the need for Assad’s departure as part of the political process, because the Syrian people themselves will not accept the legitimacy of the political transition unless it results in the departure of Assad from power.
“We believe that change has to include Bashar al-Assad leaving power. And unless you begin the process of a political transition of some sort, you are not going to be able to deal with reducing the violence and addressing the grievances of the people who came out in the street to start with,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes explained that Assad doesn’t have to leave at the beginning of the political solution, but the fact that he has to go must be clear in the framework of the political transition process. “We clarified to Russia and Iran what hadn’t been clear. Unless Assad leaves, the entire political process will fail,” he added.
Deputy National Security Advisor praised Saudi Arabia’s role in pushing for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. “I think that the Saudi role has been decisive in driving the Syrian political settlement process, and I think that the success of the Vienna meetings depends, to a large extent, on the continued support from different countries. Therefore, it is important that Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran all participate in the process”, he told Asharq al-Awsat.