Syrian opposition leader Khaled Khoja has criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's recent remarks on Syria, ruling out any solution that would keep President Bashar Assad in power.
"No Syrian will accept shaking hands with the bloody hands of Bashar Assad," Khoja, president of the Syrian National Coalition, said at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday. "Assad is non-negotiable. He will not be a part of the solution since he is part of the problem."
The Syrian opposition leader said that they have already had negotiations with representatives of the regime in Geneva last year, which failed due to "the reluctance of Damascus."
"No problem if we negotiate with the regime, it is not a precondition for us. But this negotiation process necessarily has to lead us to a new transitional body without Assad and without his security services," Khoja said. "Our attitude is to start negotiations with the regime in order to get rid of Bashar Assad and the security services that are providing him the killing machines to kill more Syrians."
On Sunday, Kerry told CBS News that the U.S. would "have to negotiate in the end" with Assad.
"What we're pushing for is to get him to come and do that and it may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds in order to do that," Kerry said.
Khoja said that during his talks with German officials Tuesday, he observed that his concerns are also shared by Germany.
"Their position is not different from our position," he said. "It is the same."
During his first official visit to Berlin, Khoja met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and also held talks at the Federal Parliament and the Ministry of the Interior.
The Syrian National Coalition is the largest wing of the Syrian opposition.
By 2013, at least 20 states and international organizations, including the U.S., Turkey, Germany, the EU and the Arab League, had recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.