Syria: Kerry’s statements threaten peace talks

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The Syrian foreign ministry on Sunday denounced statements by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria saying they could cause proposed peace talks on the 32-month conflict to fail, Agence France-Presse reported.

The repeated comments by Kerry “threaten to cause the failure of the Geneva conference, are a flagrant violation of Syrian affairs and an aggression against the Syrian people's right to decide their future,” the ministry said.

Kerry, who is pressing a peace conference in Geneva, said in Cairo on Sunday that Washington and its allies may differ over “tactics” on the Syrian conflict but they shared the goal of a handover of power

“There are some countries ... that wanted the United States to do one thing in respect to Syria and we have done something else,” Kerry said during his Cairo visit, which is the start of an 11-day tour aimed at shoring up ties with Arab nations that have frayed in part over the war in Syria.

But he insisted: “Those differences on individual tactics on policy do not mean a difference on (the) fundamental goal of the policy.

“We all share the same goal ... that is the salvation of the state of Syria and a transition government put in place...that can give the people of Syria the opportunity to choose their future.”

Kerry also said that President Assad has lost his “moral authority,” and there needs to be a transitional government in Syria.

“We also believe that Assad by virtue of his loss of moral authority cannot be part of that ... Nobody can answer how you can actually end the war as long as Assad is there,” he stressed.

Kerry is working with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to convene peace talks in Geneva. Geneva II is expected to fulfill what has been agreed upon in last year’s conference, and that is for a transitional government in Syria.

The U.S. is working to unify the opposition, and it is hoping that the so-called Geneva II talks can be held in late November. The opposition has insisted that President Assad must cede power.

Kerry, meanwhile, is going to head later Sunday for Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, one of the main backers of the Syrian opposition.

(With AFP)

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