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Kerry: Assad must accept peace conference terms

January 17, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is warning that Syria’s government must accept the goal of an upcoming peace conference in achieving a political transition.

Kerry says otherwise, Syria faces more armed opposition and increased international pressure.

Kerry’s comments Friday come ahead of a conference in Switzerland next week aimed at ending the Syrian civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people. He was responding to doubts that the government of President Bashar Assad accepts the conference’s objectives.

Kerry says Assad cannot be part of a political solution in Syria, as his opponents would never stop fighting him.

Kerry also says the U.S. is “not out of options” to increase pressure and “further change the calculation” of the Syrian government if it doesn’t cooperate. He did not elaborate.

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