October 14, 2013 - 16:42 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Secretary of State John Kerry called on Monday, Oct 14, for a peace conference on Syria "very soon" but said peace would not be possible without a transition government to replace President Bashar al-Assad, according to Reuters.
"We believe it is urgent to set a day, to convene the conference and work toward a new Syria," Kerry told reporters after meeting United Nations special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in London.
"We believe that President Assad has lost the legitimacy necessary to be a cohesive force that could bring people together," he said, adding: "there has to be a transition government in Syria to permit the possibility of peace".
On Sunday, a key group within the Syrian opposition National Coalition said it would not attend proposed peace talks in Geneva and would quit the Coalition if it participated.
The decision deals a potential blow to international efforts to convene a peace conference in Geneva, which was first proposed for June but has been pushed back multiple times.
The Syrian Red Crescent meanwhile said it had evacuated around 1,500 people from a suburb of the capital Damascus that has been under a regime siege for months.
The president of Syrian National Council, the biggest member of the opposition Coalition, told AFP that it was impossible to carry out negotiations given the suffering of people on the ground.
"The Syrian National Council, which is the biggest bloc in the Coalition, has taken the firm decision... not to go to Geneva, under the present circumstances (on the ground)," George Sabra said. “This means that we will not stay in the Coalition if it goes to the peace talks.”
Western nations and Russia have been pushing the regime and the rebels to meet for talks on a negotiated solution to the two and a half year-old conflict, which has killed some 115,000 people.