Saudis Spurn Russian Proposal For Solving Syrian War

In this Monday, May 14, 2012 file photo, then Crown Prince Salman, left, speaks with his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as they wait for Gulf Arab leaders ahead of the opening of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Prince Mohammed was appointed deputy crown prince, placing him second in line for the crown. He is believed to be around 30 years old, and as defense minister has assumed a leading role in the Saudi-led air campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

In this Monday, May 14, 2012 file photo, then Crown Prince Salman, left, speaks with his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as they wait for Gulf Arab leaders ahead of the opening of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, April 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Reports on this weekend’s talks on Syria suggest Russia is planning to propose an 18-month period of reform in the nation, leading to free elections. This encompasses the long-standing Russian goal of uniting the existing Assad government, a close ally, with secular rebel faction to fight ISIS.

The proposal hasn’t even formally been made yet, but it’s already facing condemnation from multiple factions involved in the Vienna talks, particularly Saudi Arabia and its allies, who insist that any deal for free elections must explicitly exclude the participation of leaders of the current government.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir insisted that under all circumstances, Assad has to be removed from power, and that if he doesn’t voluntarily resign he will be removed “in a military manner.”

British officials similarly downplayed the Russian proposal, saying it isn’t “central” to the discussions in Vienna, while various rebel factions similarly rejected the idea of free elections if Assad was allowed to participate.

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from MintPress News, and written by Jason Ditz | Antiwar. Read the original article here.