Saudi Arabia and Russia failed in their talks Tuesday to overcome the differences between them on the fate of Bashar al-Assad the President of Syria, a central dispute in the civil war in Syria that does not show any sign of slowing down despite the renewed diplomacy.
Russia has pushed for a coalition to take on the radical militants of Islamic State who have taken large regions of the eastern and northern part of Syria. The coalition says Russia would involve Assad, an ally for many years of Moscow.
However, speaking after their talks in Moscow, Adel Jubeir the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia reiterated the stance by Riyadh that Assad must go.
Jubeir said that a key reason in the emergence of the Islamic State were actions carried out by Assad, who directed arms at his own nation, not Islamic State.
Assad is a part of this problem, not part of its solution and there is no place for him in Syria’s future.
An uprising broke out during 2011 against the four decades of rule by the Assad family and grew into a civil war in which the Islamist militant group has become the strongest group fighting against Damascus.
Saudi Arabia is one part of the regional coalition led by the U.S. conducting daily air strikes on positions held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but foreign minister Lavrov said that it would likely not be successful against the radical Sunni militant movement.
Lavrov and Jubeir said they had discussed bringing in opposition groups together to improve the chance in fighting ISIS and to better coordinate international talks over solving the growing conflict.
Lavrov said that forces that are anti-ISIS united on the ground need wide backing internationally, but Jubeir specifically ruled out a coalition with Assad and the tension between the two ministers was visible often during the press conference.
Lavrov did say some early details started to emerge under the proposal by Russia, but did not give any further details.