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Kerry: Syria Weeks Away from 'Big Transition'

  • VOA News

French President Francois Hollande, left, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry upon arrival at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Nov. 17, 2015.

French President Francois Hollande, left, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry upon arrival at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Nov. 17, 2015.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria could be weeks away from a "big transition," following international talks last week in Vienna that led to a broad plan for political change in the war-torn country.

Kerry Tuesday voiced the need for Iran and Russia to "give life to the process" by contributing to efforts to reach a cease-fire in Syria, where 250,000 people have died in nearly five years of conflict.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is backed by Iran and Russia, but the United States does not believe he should be part of a long-term solution to Syria's political crisis.

Kerry made his comments in Paris after talks with President Francois Hollande on Friday's terrorist attacks in the French capital.

Top diplomats from 20 world powers met in Vienna on Saturday. They agreed on the need to bring Syria's government and opposition representatives into United Nations-mediated talks by January 1. They also voiced support for the establishment of credible, inclusive governance in Syria within six months and free and fair elections within 18 months.

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