Vienna, Amman cast doubt on speedy Syria transition

Austrian President Heinz Fischer, right, talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II, left, at the Hofburg palace Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer, right, talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, left, at the Hofburg palace Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.


Vienna and Amman believe it is too early to expect a speedy political transition in war-torn Syria, Austrian President Heinz Fischer said Wednesday after meeting King Abdullah II.

“I believe that neither I nor the king of Jordan would dare to entertain the hope that it would be a matter of just a few weeks,” Fischer told APA news agency after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that Syria could be weeks away from a “big transition”.

“We are on the right track, but it would be premature to make a statement about the time needed to solve the problems,” he added.

Fischer’s statement came after a working lunch with King Abdullah II in Vienna, who did not make any statements to the press.

In a visit to Paris on Tuesday, Kerry said an agreement reached at talks in Vienna between deeply divided countries such as Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia on a path to elections in Syria was a “gigantic step”.

“We are weeks away conceivably from the possibility of a big transition for Syria,” he said.

Global diplomats agreed in Vienna Saturday on a fixed calendar for Syria that would see a transition government in six months and elections within 18 months.

A final statement after the meeting said that the goal was to bring Syrian government and opposition representatives together by January 1.

The fate of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad remains unclear, and opposition members have branded the plan unrealistic.


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