Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad “must leave at the beginning of the political process and not at its end”, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubair said Saturday.
“For us, it is very clear; Al-Assad must leave at the beginning of the peace process and not at its end, it will not take 18 months”, Al-Jubair added.
The Saudi minister’s declarations came just days prior to the launch of the second round of peace talks, set to be held in Geneva.
Meanwhile, whereas the US and the West had previously called for the immediate removal of Al-Assad, they have recently retreated, ostensibly due to the Russian intervention in Syria.
Al- Jubair noted that Saudi Arabia will receive armaments from France, which were initially ordered for Lebanon as part of the conservative kingdom’s military aid to it.
Saudi Arabia suspended its military aid to Lebanon in reaction to Beirut’s failure to respond to the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic buildings in Iran following the execution of Shi’a cleric Nimr Al-Nimr.
“We will complete the contracts with France,” Al-Jubair said, however noting that the weapons will now be directed for use by Saudi Arabia.
The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon’s Shi’a-controlled government escalated Wednesday, as the GCC decided to designate the Lebanese group Hezbollah as a “terrorist group”.
GCC Secretary General Abdul-Latif Al-Zayani said the decision was taken due to “the provocative acts of this militia to recruit young people from the GCC to carry out terror acts”.
The decision came one day after Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s declarations on “Saudi Arabia’s attempts to incite sectarian strife between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in the Arab world”.