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Kerry in Poland for Defense Talks

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pays his respects as he visits the grave of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland's first democratically elected non-communist Prime Minister, in Laski, Poland, Nov. 4, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pays his respects as he visits the grave of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland's first democratically elected non-communist Prime Minister, in Laski, Poland, Nov. 4, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Poland for wide-ranging talks with the country's leaders before he returns to his tour of the Middle East.

Kerry is due to meet with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to discuss plans for a missile defense system and U.S.-Polish defense ties, and will likely face questions about allegations of U.S. spying on European leaders.

Kerry began his visit on Monday by visiting the gravesite of Poland's first post-Communist prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who died last week.

After his time in Poland, the secretary will travel to Israel and the West Bank, where he will meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials as they continue peace negotiations. He also is due to visit Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco.

Kerry traveled to Poland from Saudi Arabia, where he said the U.S. and Saudi governments agree about what must happen in Syria.

He spoke at a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and held meetings with Prince Saud and Saudi King Abdullah.

The Saudi foreign minister told reporters that despite tactical differences, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. share the same objectives in Syria. Understanding that the two allies would not see eye-to-eye 100% of the time, he also noted that "a true relationship between friends is based on sincerity, candor and frankness, rather than mere courtesy.''

Saudi Arabia, which backs Sunni Muslim-led rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has voiced concern that proposed Syrian peace talks backed by Washington could leave an Iranian-backed government in power in Damascus.

During the news conference, Kerry said the quickest way to end the bloodshed in Syria is through a negotiated settlement. He also expressed his view that Syrian President Assad has lost all legitimacy and cannot remain in power and reiterated the U.S. position that Iran will not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
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