Saudi Arabia’s FM has said that the Vienna talks will show if Tehran and Moscow are “serious” about a political solution to the Syrian conflict. The statement comes as Russia makes a record number of airstrikes in Syria.
Saudi Arabia said Wednesday that international talks in Vienna will test whether Tehran and Moscow are “serious” about a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
“If they’re serious we will know, and if they’re not serious we will also known and stop wasting time with them,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir during a joint press conference with his British counterpart.
“The view of our partners…was that we should test the intentions of the Iranians and the Russians in arriving at a political solution in Syria, which we all prefer,” al-Jubeir noted.
‘Al-Assad will leave’
Iran confirmed early Wednesday that they had received an invitation and would attend the Vienna talks, which will bring together Western countries along with Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran to negotiate a potential solution to the Syrian conflict.
Iran and Russia are key backers of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while the West and Saudi Arabia back a political situation that would see the Syrian leader step down.
“There has to be certainty that Bashar al-Assad will leave,” al-Jubeir noted during the briefing.
Russia’s bombing record
Meanwhile, the Russian defense ministry said on Wednesday that they hit 118 targets during 71 sorties conducted in the previous 24 hours, marking a record number of airstrikes since Moscow entered the conflict on September 30.
“The number of sorties has gone up,” the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it was “due to an increase in intelligence data.”
The Syrian conflict erupted in 2011 after al-Assad cracked down on demonstrators protesting the president’s rule.
More than 250,000 people have been killed since then. More than half the population has been displaced, including 120,000 Syrians in October, according to UN figures.
ls/jil (AFP, Reuters, AP)