US Secretary of State John Kerry says the next round of talks to resolve the years-old crisis in Syria will be held in New York this month.
"The governments involved are going to meet later in this month in New York in order to continue to move this process forward," Kerry said on Saturday in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Kerry added that the United States and its allies are trying to facilitate a transition toward a unified Syria under UN supervision.
He also criticized Russia for supporting the Syrian president and insisted the ultimate solution to the crisis must include the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.
The New York talks will be a follow-up of two rounds of negotiations held in the Austrian capital Vienna where more than a dozen nations, including Iran and Russia, participated.
The participants agreed on respecting Syria’s national unity and sovereignty as well as elimination of terrorist groups operating inside the country. However, they remained at loggerheads over the role of President Assad in any future setup.
While the United States and its allies insist that Assad cannot be part of any future government in Syria, Iran and Russia say that Assad's fate should be decided by the Syrian people alone.
Last week, a Democratic congresswoman called on the Obama administration to stop the “illegal, counterproductive war” to overthrow the Syrian government and focus instead on defeating Daesh and other extremist groups.
Appearing on CNN on Friday, Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii said the campaign to remove President Assad is “illegal because Congress has not declared war. It has not authorized a war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011.
Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material
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