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US Secretary Of State: Assad Cannot Be Part Of Syria Solution

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John Kerry, right, with Nasser Judeh, foreign minister of Jordan

John Kerry, right, with Nasser Judeh, foreign minister of Jordan

US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have to step down as part of any political solution in Syria.

Kerry made the comments on Thursday in Rome while meeting his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, during the third day of talks on the nearly two-year conflict.

He said all sides were working to “effect a transition government by mutual consent of both sides, which clearly means that in our judgement President Assad will not be a component of that transitional government”.

Kerry also officially unveiled $100m (N15.7bn) in additional US humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees, almost half of which will go to help Jordan struggling to cope with a tide of people fleeing the 26-month war.

About 2,000 people are flooding across the border into Jordan every day, and the country now hosts nearly 525,000 refugees, Judeh said at the start of the talks in Rome.

“We have 10 percent of our population today, in the form of Syrian refugees. It is expected to rise to about 20 to 25 percent given the current rates by the end of this year, and possibly to about 40 percent by the middle of 2014,” he said.

“No country can cope with the numbers as huge as the numbers I’ve just described,” he said, adding Jordan was very grateful for the help of the international community.

Plans for an international conference to try to find a solution to the crisis were also continuing, Kerry said, after he agreed in talks in Moscow that he and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, would work in tandem on the issue.

He had spoken with most of the foreign ministers from the countries involved and there is a “very positive response and a very strong desire to move to this conference and to try to find, at least exhaust the possibilities of finding, a political way forward”.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, had also been in touch, so “we are going to forge ahead very, very directly to work with all of the parties to bring that conference together,” Kerry added.

No venue has yet been identified, but Geneva could host the talks that are likely to be held by the end of May.

The US secretary of state said the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, also met the Syrian opposition in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Wednesday to discuss the way forward.

Since the war erupted to oust Assad, more than 1.5 million Syrians have fled the country into neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, vastly straining their resources.

Up to four million more could be displaced within the country as they seek to flee the fierce fighting, which has already claimed some 70,000 lives. [AFP]

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JUST IN: ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions On Mali

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ECOWAS countries
ECOWAS Countries

ECOWAS Countries

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US President, Donald Trump, Wife Test Positive For Covid-19

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Donald Trump and Melania
Donald Trump and Melania

Donald Trump and wife, Melania Trump

President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

The President took to his official Twitter handle on Friday to make this announcement.

Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.

Also Read: What I Told Trump When He Accused Me Of Killing Christians – Buhari

On Thursday, he announced that his aide, Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus which has killed over 1 million people around the world.

He further revealed that he and the first lady had taken the test and waiting for the results before announcing the outcome on Friday.

 

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Mali: N’Daw, Coup Leader Goita Sworn In As President, VP

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President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita
President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita

President of Mali, N’Daw, coup leader, Goita

Retired Army Colonel, Bah N’Daw has been sworn in on Friday as the interim president of Mali and he is to head a transitional government following last month’s military coup in the country.

The swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s capital city of Bamako, where Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.

This administration is to lead the government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.

Also Read: Buhari Attends Virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit Over Mali Crisis

It will be recalled that the country’s military executed a coup last month (August 18) which successfully removed the nation’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office.

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the ceremony alongside other members of the ECOWAS mediation team.

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