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John Kerry now says Syria’s Assad must go, situation ‘urgent’

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Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Syria President Bashar Assad has no future and must be removed from power — a somewhat confusing stance given the recent praise he gave the regime for cooperating with a Russia-forged chemical weapons deal.

Mr. Kerry said meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.'s special envoy for Syria, that the need to oust Mr. Assad from office and install a replacement is "urgent," the Hill reported.

"Special Representative Brahimi and I agree, as do many others, that there is no military solution in Syria, and we believe it is urgent to set a date, convene the conference and work toward a new Syria," Mr. Kerry said. "We also, expressing my own point of view — because he's the negotiator and it's not his point of view to say this — but we believe that President Assad has lost the legitimacy necessary to be able to be a cohesive force."

Mr. Kerry said "there has to be a new governing entity in Syria in order to permit the possibility of peace," according to the Hill.

Russia and China say Syria should be allowed to decide its own leadership. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who characterized Mr. Kerry's statements as "strictly political agenda," said he found the statements curious, given the United States' past remarks on the situation in Syria.

"Our partners are currently fixated on the ideological task to have the regime replaced because a couple of years ago they made a statement that President Bashar Assad had no future whatsoever except to quit and leave," Mr. Lavrov said in an interview with a Russian television station. "I am sure that the nations of the West did so in order to prove that the Middle East will 'dance to their tune.'"

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