Washington: The upcoming Geneva conference on Syria is the best opportunity to form a new, transitional governing body in the country through mutual consent, the US has said.

“To contain the growing threat from extremism and foreign fighters within Syria, and to ensure respect for Syria’s territorial sovereignty, we cannot delay the work of establishing a transitional government,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday.

“Since foreign states have considerable influence on the factions waging war within Syria, they too have an important role to play. While it is ultimately up to the Syrian people to form a new government and bring an end to the conflict, the United States and our partners can help get them there,” he said as he welcomed the convening of the Geneva conference on Syria.

“In order to end the bloodshed and give the Syrian people a chance to meet their long-deferred aspirations, Syria needs new leadership,” Kerry said.

The White House said the US has long made clear that there is no military solution to the violence in Syria.

“The Geneva Conference is the best opportunity to implement the Geneva Communique and form a new, transitional governing body through mutual consent – an important step toward ending the suffering of the Syrian people and the destabilising impact of this conflict on the region,” said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary.

Acknowledging he is well aware that the obstacles on the road to a political solution are many, Kerry said the international community will enter the Geneva conference on Syria with eyes wide open.

“No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead. In the coming weeks, the regime and the opposition will need to form their delegations, and we will continue to work in concert with the UN and our partners on remaining issues, including which countries will be invited to attend and what the agenda will be to advance the Geneva Communique framework for political transition,” he said.

US President Barack Obama still believes that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad needs to go, Earnest said.

“The President does still believe that, Assad, must go, people believe that. That is the goal of these talks that are scheduled for Geneva in January. There should be an opportunity here for a political transition. It’s our view that that’s the only way that we can resolve this conflict. And we’re hopeful that by bringing both sides to the table, we can get started on that process,” he said.

“We are eager to get to work on what will prove to be a very difficult process of enacting a political transition in Syria so that the Syrian government can actually reflect the will of the people.

“We’re also hopeful that we’ll have a government there that will do more to respect basic human rights, that will respect the basic rights of minority populations in that country,” he said.

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