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US Syria envoy: America’s policy is not to oust Assad

“We want to see a regime that is fundamentally different. It’s not regime change; we’re not trying to get rid of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad,” said U.S. Special Representative to Syria James Jeffrey.

U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey addresses reporters at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2018. Credit: Jackson Richman/JNS.
U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey addresses reporters at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2018. Credit: Jackson Richman/JNS.

Ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad is no longer a goal of the United States, said the U.S. envoy to Syria on Monday.

“We want to see a regime that is fundamentally different. It’s not regime change; we’re not trying to get rid of Assad,” said U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Jeffrey added that the United States has warned Western allies and others to not fund rebuilding Syria without there being a course correction, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in October that America would not give “one single dollar” towards reconstruction as long as Iran, which supports Assad, is in Syria.

“There is a strong readiness on the part of Western nations not to ante up money for that disaster unless we have some kind of idea that the government is ready to compromise and thus not create yet another horror in the years ahead,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be a regime that we Americans would embrace as, say, qualifying to join the European Union if the European Union would take Middle Eastern countries.”

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