German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he believed the changed United States position was certainly “more realistic”, as to insist that Assad must step down from the start would only result in deadlock.
“But there is one thing which cannot happen – that a dictator who committed horrible crimes in the region remains untouched,” Gabriel said.
The UN peace talks should continue with the aim of producing a “new constitution, elections and a new and democratic government,” he said.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday co-hosts with the United Nations a two-day conference on Syria’s future in Brussels focused on the disastrous humanitarian situation in the country after a war which has claimed more than 320 000 lives.
Mogherini stressed that this was part of efforts to prepare properly for the end of the war while UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva continued to search for a peace settlement and Russia and Turkey brokered talks between Damascus and the rebels on a ceasefire.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault for his part said there had to be a genuine political transition to a new Syria.
“France does not believe for an instant that this new Syria can be led by Assad,” he said.