Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Saturday that Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad should not take part in the proposed peace talks aimed at ending that country's deadly conflict.
"We support the will of the Syrian people, which has expressed its will clearly, saying it does not wish to see any role in the conference for Bashar al-Assad, or any of those whose hands are stained with Syrian blood," he told reporters in Jeddah.
Saudi Arabia is among the Gulf states accused by Syria of arming rebels battling forces loyal to Assad since peaceful demonstrations in March 2011 rapidly became open conflict after a regime crackdown.
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More than 94,000 people have been killed in the two years since, according to rights activists.
The peace conference is a joint Russian and US proposal to bring together representatives of the Syrian opposition and Assad's regime.
However, the opposition's long-standing position has been that it will not negotiate until Assad agrees to leave, and there is no formal precondition for the conference of him stepping down.
Faisal said he hoped that the conference, which is proposed to take place in Geneva, would lead to an "immediate ceasefire and meet the aspirations of the Syrian people to achieve a peaceful transfer of power."