29 Sep 2015

NZ supports US position on Syria - PM

4:29 pm on 29 September 2015

The Prime Minister says the immediate removal of the Assad regime is no longer a necessary starting point for achieving peace in Syria.

Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key Photo: Getty Images

Speaking from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly, John Key said he supported comments made by US President Barack Obama.

"If you listen very carefully to what President Obama said today, he said that there was essentially a sort of multi-staged way of carrying out changes in Syria," said Mr Key.

"And it was very much along the lines that both elements of concern in Syria would need to change over time, but not necessarily as a starting point. That's really where New Zealand is at."

Talks at the Assembly have exposed deep divisions among world leaders about how to end the conflict in Syria.

The US and France insist Syria's President Bashar al-Assad must go, but Russia says it would be an "enormous mistake" not to work with him to tackle Islamic State (IS) militants.

Nevertheless, the US and Russia also hinted they could still co-operate on the crisis. President Obama said he would work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, while Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a "broad coalition".

"Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader," President Obama told the Assembly.

Russia and the United States are leading separate coalitions fighting against terror groups in war-torn Syria, with Moscow supporting President Assad.

Other US allies, such as Australia are also reassessing their view that President Assad, whose accused of using chemical weapons on his own people, must be removed before the crisis is resolved.


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