Syrian President Bashar Assad has fired Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil for leaving the country and acting without government permission after meeting with U.S. officials in Switzerland, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported Tuesday.
"Jamil was dismissed because he left his centre of work without prior permission and did not follow up on his duties. ... Additionally, he undertook activities outside the nation without coordinating with the government," Syria TV reported.
U.S. and Middle East officials told Reuters that Mr. Jamil met the former American ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, on Saturday in Geneva.
"We meet lots of Syrians of all political backgrounds," a senior State Department official said, as CNN reported. "We're not going to give a list, but we do regularly meet Syrians with direct contacts with the regime in Damascus.
"We are clear: There is no military solution for either side," he said. "There needs to be a political negotiation for a new, transitional governing body chosen by mutual consent with full executive powers."
Mr. Jamil represents the Popular Front for Change and Liberation — what Mr. Assad calls the "patriotic, or internal, opposition," which is political parties that consider themselves rivals to the president but have not joined the 2½-year revolt against his regime, according to Lebanon's Daily Star.
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