KUWAIT CITY — British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday that Syrian President Bashar Assad must stand down to allow for any peaceful settlement to the 33-month-old conflict in his country.
"We have always been very clear that a peaceful solution in Syria must require the departure of President Assad," Hague told a news conference in Kuwait's capital after talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheik Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah.
"It is impossible to imagine after so many deaths, so much destruction, a regime oppressing and murdering its own people on this scale" should remain in power, Britain's chief diplomat said.
"It is impossible to imagine, I think, President Assad could remain on the scene in Syria in the future," Hague said.
The reiteration of Britain's call for Assad's ouster came just weeks ahead of an international peace conference on Syria slated for January 22.
The government in Damascus has said Assad will remain president and lead any transition agreed at the conference, while the opposition and rebels fighting the regime insist he play no role.
© AFP 2014