No political solution in Syria with Assad in power: Haley

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Washington: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday said there is no political solution to the conflict in Syria until President Bashar al-Assad is out of power.

“There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” Haley told CNN in an interview airing on Sunday.

The Indian-origin diplomat’s remarks came days after the US on April 6 unleashed 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase in a retaliating for the Assad-led government’s alleged chemical weapons attack that killed nearly 80 persons in Idlib province.

Haley on Friday told a special session of the UN Security Council that the US was “prepared to do more” in Syria and that it was Washington’s “vital national interest” to stop the use and spread of chemical weapons.

According to Haley, the Assad regime has committed atrocities on innocent Syrian civilians multiple times.

“It just — if you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it’s going to be hard to see a government that’s peaceful and stable with Assad.”

Syrian Deputy UN Ambassador Mounzer Mounzer denied the country’s use of chemical weapons, stating at the UN session that Syria “would never use such weapons in any of its operations against armed terrorist groups”.

Haley reiterated her statements about further actions in Syria in her interview to the CNN.

“If he needs to do more, he will do more,” Haley said when asked if Trump would order more strikes.

“So, really, now what happens depends on how everyone responds to what happened in Syria, and make sure that we start moving towards a political solution, and we start finding peace in that area.”

Haley said she thought a regime change would occur because “all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria”.

Haley noted that ousting Assad was not the US’s only priority.

“So, there’s multiple priorities,” she said. “It’s — getting Assad out is not the only priority. And so what we’re trying to do is obviously defeat the IS. Secondly, we don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there.”

“Thirdly, get the Iranian influence out, and then, finally, move towards a political solution, because at the end of the day, this is a complicated situation.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday about the situation in Syria, a longtime Russian ally.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called the US strike “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law”.

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