News / Europe

Kerry Issues Blunt Warnings to Syria, Iran

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) hold a joint news conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague following their meeting in London, Feb. 25, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) hold a joint news conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague following their meeting in London, Feb. 25, 2013.
Al Pessin
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has sent a stern warning to both Iran and Syria, telling the governments of both countries they will have to embrace change or suffer the consequences.

Kerry spoke Monday during a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London, the first stop of his first foreign trip as U.S. secretary of state.

Kerry called on Iran to negotiate in good faith at talks with the international contact group starting Tuesday, saying time is running out for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over its nuclear program.  

“The window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot, by definition, remain open forever. But it is open today," he said. "It is open now and there is still time. But there is only time if Iran makes the decision to come to the table and to negotiate in good faith.”

Iranian nuclear program

Iranian negotiators will sit down Tuesday with diplomats from the five permanent Security Council members and Germany in Kazakhstan.  

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but many nations around the world are concerned it is actually aimed at building an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

"An Iran with a nuclear weapon, in that region, and given all that has happened, is simply unacceptable," Kerry said. "And we have stated that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Kerry said the United States goes to this week’s talks prepared to work in “good faith” and “mutual respect” in order to avoid what he called “whatever terrible consequences could follow failure” of the talks.

Syrian negotiations

Kerry condemns Syria

As for Syria, Kerry rejected the latest Syrian government call for negotiations with the opposition, saying the bombing of civilian areas in recent days in the commercial city Aleppo makes it hard to take the offer seriously.  

“It is pretty hard to understand how, when you see these Scuds falling on the innocent people of Aleppo, it is impossible to take their notion that they are ready to have a dialogue very seriously,” he said.

In recent weeks, both Syria’s government and the opposition have suggested they are ready for talks to end the war, in stark contrast to previous statements.

Speaking alongside Kerry, Britain's Hague called for increased support for Syria's opposition, saying that "our policy cannot be static" in the face of the violence. Hague said that in the coming weeks Britain would be pushing for a new package of assistance to support the opposition Syrian National Coalition.

The comments come as the coalition is considering boycotting the next Friends of Syria meeting in Rome on Thursday because it says the international community is not doing enough to end the violence. The Syrians are concerned the meeting will produce more talk, but no more action to help them in their fight against the Assad regime.  

Kerry urged them to attend nonetheless.

“We are not coming to Rome simply to talk," he said. "We are coming to Rome to make a decision about next steps, and perhaps even other options that may or may not be discussed further after that. We understand that the Syrian people want to see results from this conference.”

Russia's role

In Moscow, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that the Syrian government is open to dialogue with those who want to take part.

"We are ready for dialogue with everyone who wants it...even with those who have weapons in their hands," Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying. "We believe that reforms will not come through bloodshed but only through dialogue.”

Moallem reportedly made the comment before meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The head of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, told reporters in Cairo, however, that he wants to hear clearly from the government. He said the opposition grouping has not yet communicated with the Syrian government and is waiting to do so to see what will happen. Al-Khatib also said opposition visits to the United States and Russia are being delayed.

Jessica Golloher contributed to this report from Moscow and Naomi Martig from Washington.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sseruwu Alex John from: Kampala
March 01, 2013 1:21 PM
Kerry's tough talk is a mere rhetoric and intimidation to Iran and allies, military confrontation by US and allies isn't a solution either, it is only diplomacy, diplomacy and only diplomacy that can win over Iran and other anti Americans. Let US understand why Iran is interested in the nuke weapons, then use that as a yard stick to persuade them to abandon the program by offering an alternative incentive. Military aggression on Iran will automatically speed up US's road to absolute collapse and a total change of the world order as the capitalist US and allies haven't healed yet from economic death row point.


by: Richard from: China
February 25, 2013 9:45 PM
Take care of your own business. Okay?


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City,NJ
February 25, 2013 8:04 PM
We applaud Secretary Kerry for a strong voice and a bold stand,we need people like Secretary Kerry in power to put things in place. Who is Iran to rub shoulder with the world super power?what kind of mess is this?America is the best,and America is the greatest.If Iran doesn't negotiate with the US ,she should pay hard price.ENOUGH IS REALLY ENOUGH. How Iran nuclear program is for peaceful proposes when she said Israel should be wipe of the map?Ahmadinejad primary motive is to destroy a whole nation,and we as a good people need to stop this nonsense.finally we have a man for the hour,Secretary Kerry is the man for the job,God Bless America


by: Paul Felix Schott from: United States of America
February 25, 2013 5:51 PM
John Kerry that is SCARY giving more time to any one that is building weapons for war, and has been for the last 25+ years.

Even more Scary that they have been giving them to Terrorist Groups for a long time and the USA is letting them do it, and as all in obama's team all you can say is you have more time. Were are the Leaders that stand for what is right and good for all mankind. This Nation needs Leaders that stand United for the good of all not the wicked holding leaders like a dog on a leash.
United We Stand In GOD We Trust
True Patriotic Americans
The Lord's Little Helper
Paul Felix Schott


by: Arash Kamaangir from: New York
February 25, 2013 4:27 PM
I am puzzled as to why Mr. Kerry doesn’t mention the amount of nuke Israel has. Don’t you people realize that if that issue is resolve, we can deal better with Iran and the rest of the world since the whole world sees this as very unfair game. In today’s world, the young generation would not accept any thing that smells "bias.".

Even if the new leaders in Iran accept a deal without addressing Israel's arsenal, the next generation will find something to fight back and I am afraid with the way technology is going, the next generation would find easy access to devastating means to have their revenge. Let's talk with reason and avoid any bully tactic since it doesn’t work in today's world. The age of wild west is gone.


by: edmays from: Brick Nj
February 25, 2013 2:54 PM
Finally some strong talk instead of the usual nambly pambly oatmeal we get.


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
February 25, 2013 1:40 PM
Well spoken Mr Kerry. The days of the fox are over and it is now the day of the lions (Read Pareto 'the lions and the foxes') The old world order is gone. The new world order now looks to America for leadership.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid