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US, European allies must hold Assad regime accountable in Syria - Tillerson

WASHINGTON, NOV 28 (KUNA) -- After ousting extremist militants from strongholds in Syria, the United States and European allies must now rebuild the country "that leaves no role for the Assad regime," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.
The top US diplomat said in an address at the Woodrow Wilson Center on the topic of strengthening US-European Alliances that the US and European allies have partnered to hold Assad accountable through sanctions for crimes against his own people.
"As the last pockets of ISIS are defeated in Syria and international focus turns to resolving the Syrian civil conflict, our European partners must continue to be strong advocates for the United Nations-led Geneva process under UN Security Council Resolution 2254, "That alone can be the basis for rebuilding the country and implementing a political solution that leaves no role for the Assad regime or his family in Syria's government," Tillerson asserted.
Following successful US-led military campaigns against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Tillerson said the group was "on the brink of complete extinction". However, the terrorist group continues to pose a threat, including in the Sahel region of West Africa.
"We must take action so that areas like the Sahel or the Maghreb do not become the next breeding ground for ISIS, al-Qaida, or other terrorist groups," said Tillerson adding, "The emergence of ISIS in the Sahel is just one indication that threats to the safety and well-being of our people will continue to have new and unexpected origins." He said the US was continuing to work with Russia on "areas of mutual cooperation", mainly ousting the Islamic State from strongholds in Syria and preventing the country from re-dissolving into civil war.
"We've had a lot of conversations over what does Russia see as the end state of Syria, what do we see as the end state, and there's a lot of commonality there," Tillerson said. (end) hy.ibi