Russia, US, Turkey and Saudi fail to agree on Syria

No consensus on fate of Syrian president during meeting held in Vienna, exploring options to end five-year war.

Russia air strikes Syria
Russia has been carrying out air strikes in Syria since last month to support President Bashar al-Assad [Russia Works]

Saudi, Turkey, Russia and the US have not reached consensus on the political fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting held exploring how to end the five-year conflict that has claimed over 250,000 lives, according to the Saudi foreign minister.

Adel al-Jubeir also confirmed on Friday that the four countries, currently represented by top diplomats in Vienna, would continue consulting on Syria, according to reports quoting Russian news agencies.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Hadi Sinirili and Saudi’s al-Jubeir were involved in Friday’s meeting.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips, speaking in the Austrian capital, said Assad lies at the heart of the discussions.

While Moscow believes Assad should remain part of the political process, others think the Syrian leader should be removed from power in order for the war to end.

“Saudi, the US and Turkey see Assad as an obstacle for peace,” Al Jazeera’s Phillips said. “That crucial difference of opinion seems to be unresolved.”

Russia and Jordanian coordination

All parties are involved in Syria militarily.

Are Russia and the US escalating the war in Syria?

The US campaign in Syria has been in support of rebels trying to overthrow that government. 

Russia has been carrying out air strikes in Syria since last month to support Assad. 

Russia’s Lavrov said that he wanted Iran and Egypt to take part in any future talks on Syria.

“We requested that future contacts take place in a more representative format,” Lavrov told reporters after the meeting in comments broadcast on Russian state TV.

He said that meant including Iran and Egypt in particular.

Speaking after talks with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who was also in Vienna but not present at the group meetings, Lavrov called on other countries to step up efforts to bring peace to Syria.

He also announced that Russia and Jordan had agreed to coordinate their military activities in Syria.

Lavrov said the two countries would set up a centre in the Jordanian capital to coordinate their air campaigns over Syria.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies