Biden rules out military solution in Syria

ABU DHABI: US Vice President Joe Biden ruled out a military solution to end Syria’s conflict in remarks published Monday, calling for a political transition despite the difficulty.

“That should be clear to everyone,” Biden told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National at the start of a visit to the United Arab Emirates ahead of travelling to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

“So as hard as it is, we have to keep trying to reach a political settlement,” he said. Saudi Arabia, which backs the Syrian opposition, and ally the UAE have said they are willing to send ground troops to Syria under US command to battle the militant IS group.

Biden’s comments come as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its opponents are to this week resume UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva as a fragile ceasefire holds in Syria.

The talks are aimed at ending the five-year Syria war that has killed more than 270,000 people, displaced millions and devastated the country. The fate of Assad, who is refusing to step down, has been one of the main sticking points in the talks.

“A political solution between the parties is the only way to end the violence and give the Syrian people the chance they deserve to rebuild their country. To create a credible, inclusive, and non-sectarian system, a new constitution and free and fair elections,” Biden said.