Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that unless Bashar al-Assad abided by efforts to establish a truce across Syria, alternatives would need to be looked at.
“We believe we should have moved to a ‘plan b’ a long time ago,” Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Vienna after the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting co-chaired by Russia and the US.
“It was made clear that Bashar al-Assad has two choices – either he will be removed through political process or he will be removed by force,” Jubeir added.
“The choice about moving to an alternative plan, the choice about intensifying the military support (to the opposition) is entirely with the Bashar regime. If they do not respond to the treaties of the international community…then we will have to see what else can be done.”
During the meeting in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted the August 1 date set by the UN Security Council for agreement on the political framework was a “target” not a deadline.
Nevertheless, Kerry said the ISSG had agreed to strengthen its system for monitoring the ceasefire and that violators of the truce risked being expelled from the process.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, meanwhile, said he expected that the new round of negotiations in Geneva to be resumed on June 1. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)