News / Middle East

Kerry Calls on Syrian Government to Make Peace

Kerry: Assad Risks Greater Support for Opposition If He Rejects Peace Talksi
X
May 23, 2013 11:43 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad risks greater international support for his opponents if he does not agree to peace talks that the U.S. wants to convene in June. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from Amman, Jordan, where Kerry also criticized Iran for "making the problem worse" in Syria.

Kerry: Assad Risks Greater Support for Opposition If He Rejects Peace Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad risks increasing international support for his opponents if he does not agree to take part in peace talks. In Amman, Kerry criticized Iran for "making the problem worse" in Syria.

Kerry says governments backing the opposition in Syria condemn what he calls the destructive role of Lebanese Hezbollah militants fighting alongside government troops.

"Active military support to the Assad regime simply exacerbates the sectarian tensions and perpetuates the regime's campaign of terror against its own people," said Kerry.

Kerry says Iran is "contributing significantly to this violence" by actively supporting thousands of Hezbollah fighters.

While he says President Barack Obama does not intend to send U.S. troops to Syria, he has taken no options off the table with respect to what kind of support Washington might provide the opposition.

Kerry says the Obama administration hopes President Assad "will understand the meaning of that, and the Iranians and others will understand the meaning of that" as well. But he coupled the threat of greater rebel support with an appeal to join talks on a transitional government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, on May 22, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, on May 22, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, on May 22, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, on May 22, 2013.
"The benefit of a political settlement is in everybody's interest. And I think that's true for Lebanon and that's true for Iran. And hopefully Iranians could find themselves even finding a way to be contributing somehow to a solution rather than making the problem worse," he said.

Speaking to reporters alongside Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry said he is not here to dictate to anyone about peace talks but rather to find the best way forward.

"We will listen to all voices with respect to the format, to the timing, to the agenda, and to the outcomes to be discussed," he said.

But he says the already-agreed-to mutual-consent provisions of a transitional government make clear that President Assad has no future ruling Syria.

"Can a person who has used artillery shells and missiles and Scuds and tanks against women and children and university students - can that person possibly by judged by any reasonable person to have the credibility and legitimacy to lead that country in the future?" asked Kerry.

So why would President Assad join such peace talks? If it is because he believes recent military advances put him in a stronger position, Kerry says the Syrian leader is mistaken.

"If Bashar al-Assad thinks the gains he has made in the last few days are going to be determinative of this, then he is miscalculating just as he did when he engaged in this struggle against his own people," he said.

Assad troops and Hezbollah fighters have gained ground along the Lebanese border, which Foreign Minister Judeh says risks fragmenting Syria.

"The presence of extremist organizations and non-Syrian fighters on the ground is of concern to many of us - those countries that are neighboring Syria and those countries that are interested in preserving the territorial integrity and the safety and security of the Syrian people," said Judeh.

Judeh and Kerry joined foreign ministers from Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates in discussing the U.S.-Russian plan to bring together for the first time rebel and government representatives.

Latest images from Syria

  • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) speaks with Shukri Bin Suleiman Harmasi (R), secretary general of the Tunisian Immutable Principles Party, during a meeting in Damascus, May 23, 2013.
  • A Syrian rebel fires shells against government forces in Idlib, northern Syria, May 23, 2013.
  • Security forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad take part in a field exercise at an undisclosed location, May 22, 2013. (SANA via Reuters)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows people gathered by houses that were destroyed in an airstrike in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 21, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows a man checking his house that was damaged by an airstrike, Qusair, Homs, Syria, May 21, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows rebels preparing to repel an attack by government forces, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of buildings damaged in government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 18, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter fires back at the Syrian Army, Deir al-Zor, May 19, 2013.
  • People travel on the back of a pickup truck in Deir al-Zor, Syria, May 19, 2013.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army cook food, Deir al-Zor, May 19, 2013.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
May 23, 2013 2:59 AM
This is a big joke that those responsible for spreading terrorism in the whole world, some time in the name of CHANGE REGIME, FIGHT FOR RUSSIA, TO PROTECT DEMOCRACY in third world country. I cannot understand why BIG shot is so much worry about human rights in Syria and not in Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,Qatar and so many so called ISLAMIC states on paper only.

Pakistan fought with Russia on behalf of CHAMPION of human rights. But how much we have suffered in the last 30 years due to that war no body can imagine. I have read USA PRESDIENT statement about 15 years back that there is a plan to CHANGE REGIME IN SYRIA AND IRAN. This is the game all about to implement what he said 15 YEARS BACK. If USA is really interested in human rights and freedom of speech, then start work from Saudi Arabia, Qatar,Kuwait and so many PUPPET govts with the blessing of USA AND WEST.


by: Veronica H from: USA
May 22, 2013 9:02 PM
imagine how the Israelis feel... yes, Assad supplied the Hizboz with weapons but he kept the border with Israel safe... now, Britain is trying to comply with Saudi demands to topple Assad and supply Britain with cheap oil in return... the Israelis don't like the revolting Hizboz but hope to have Assad continue to exercise a measure of control over his own country.

The Russians French and Germans are with Israel, the British however try to recruit the Americans to destroy Assad... I say - let the British try to remove Assad by themselves... yeah, let them try... and if they (the British) think that the "rebels" are going to feel grateful for the British after Assad removal... think again Britain. hey Cameron, just leave the US out of this... look on you tube how the "rebels" slaughter the Hizboz and the Iranians... LOL


by: joekanuck from: Canada
May 22, 2013 5:33 PM
So let's see if I have this straight; the US is warning Assad that things could get worse if he doesn't do what he's told...which means let the Al Qaeda infested rebels win.

So how does that help peace? Instead of a guy who has had peace in region, (including Israel), they want the leaderless, fractured radical Islamists, who really do want to destroy Israel, in control of not just the country, but the military including the chemical weapons.

All this to try and poke Iran in the nose. Just a couple of points here, Kerry...the anarchy you're supporting plays right into the hands of Israel's enemies since the busier Israel is with them, the less time it has to worry about Iran, (which still isn't building a bomb by the way...which you know because the NSA boys have told you).

As well, while touting the ouster of Assad as a great loss to Iran, you keep forgetting to mention that the USA handed an even bigger prize, Iraq, to Iran. Iraq has always had a pro Iranian Shia majority, which was suppressed by Saddam. You killed Saddam and now Iraq and Iran are the best of friends.

Just look at the hundreds of thousands of deaths and probably millions wounded in the wars in the region started by the US....and they have the cojones to lecture anybody about peace?

How about human rights? How are those elections in Saudi coming along? Can the women vote yet? How about walk alone, get an education, work or even talk back to a man without being beaten or worse?

How are the journalists and bloggers who dare to speak out against the Saudi regime doing? That's obviously a joke since they've just disappeared...we'll never know what happened to them.

So Kerry...maybe take some time and really think about the real message you're sending when you engage in such open and blatant hypocrisy.

Do as I say, not as I do gunboat diplomacy just isn't cutting it anymore.


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
May 22, 2013 3:39 PM
I think that a fundamental error is being made in the approach to the negotiations. Pre-conditions and stated end outcomes will not bring anyone, in good faith, to the negotiations. There is no point in having negotiations, if one or both sides have a list of pre-conditions. The whole purpose of having negotiations, is for the parties in conflict to deal with the issues on their own terms. Maybe the international community should dictate a cease fire, but that is as far as it should go. Pre-conditions, are exactly the same fundamental error that has been made in many long running conflicts. Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Israel, etc. Get the responsible parties, in authority/decision makers, to the table and then start the work- ACCEPT/SUPPORT NO PRE-CONDITIONS.


by: Akram73 from: France
May 22, 2013 1:14 PM
if this Jordanian queen thinks that the US will help him when the time comes... he should look to Egypt or Libya to see his future...


by: Ahmet Mazuk from: Jordan
May 22, 2013 12:50 PM
here... another "king"... a revolting little reprobate

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid