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Belgium wants Assad out of talks on Syria solution

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Belgium said on Monday it favours negotiations to arrive at a political solution for ending the deadly Syria conflict but President Bashar al-Assad must be out of these talks.

Belgium also raised fears that the conflict in Syria could be a very long civil war, as Jordan too urged for a political solution to the crisis.

"It's a dramatic situation, it's a real tragedy for the population in Syria. We are afraid of a very long civil war in the country, so we are trying to support a political solution if it's possible," Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said at a news conference in Amman.

"We are in favour of negotiations but without President Assad."

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who also addressed the conference with Reynders, said that Amman too wanted a "political solution that will ensure that Syria remains united."

Jordan is hosting 400,000 Syrian refugees who have fled from the daily bloodshed in Syria.

The two ministers made their remarks as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem stressed in Moscow that Damascus was ready for talks with armed rebels and anyone who favours dialogue.

Reynders, meanwhile, said Belgium will provide nine million euros ($11.9 million) as aid to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in the region.

He said the aid included one million euros for Jordan's northern Zaatari refugee camp, home to around 90,000 Syrians.

The United Nations has warned that refugee numbers in countries neighbouring Syria could reach 1.1 million within months.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130225/belgium-wants-assad-out-talks-syria-solution