News / Europe

Kerry: Syrian Opposition Needs More Help

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, Paris, Feb. 27, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, Paris, Feb. 27, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
Amid reports Washington is considering offering military assistance to Syrian rebels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria's opposition needs more help from the international community to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
 
On the Paris leg of a nine-nation trip by America's top diplomat, Kerry addressed a joint press conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, saying that achieving a political solution to war in Syria requires convincing President Bashar al-Assad that he has no other option.
 
"He needs to know he can't shoot his way out of this, and so we need to convince him of that," he said. "And I think the opposition needs more help in order to do that, and we are working together to have a united position with respect to that."
 
While news reports indicate the Obama administration is considering direct military aid for some Syrian rebels, the move would be a first for the Washington, which has previously expressed fears that aid could end up in the wrong hands — notably those of radical Islamists.
 
Kerry did not confirm the reports, saying only that Washington wants to provide humanitarian assistance to the opposition, to respond to the needs of ordinary Syrians, and to offer an alternative to extremists.
 
"We think it's very important that more of our assistance is getting to areas that have been liberated from the regime," he said. "And that's not enough. We need to help the Syrian opposition council deliver basic services."
 
Kerry will be making his case at an international meeting on Syria in Rome on Thursday, where Mouaz al-Khatib, leader of Syria's opposition coalition, is expected to attend after threatening to boycott the meeting for lack of broader international support.
 
According to Fabius, al-Khatib had made some interesting proposals. Any push for action in Rome, the French foreign minister added, would be echoed in Moscow — an ally of President Assad — when he and French President Francois Hollande visit the Russian capital Thursday.
 
"We have to make our best [effort], all of us, in order to go to a new period of time," Fabius said. "Because we agree, all of us, on the fact that Mr. Bashar al-Assad has to quit."
 
Kerry's visit to Paris, which also included talks with President Hollande, also tackled another thorny issue: Iran's nuclear program. With a two-day meeting between Tehran and six world powers just wrapping up in Kazakhstan, Kerry said the U.S. remains open to bilateral talks with Iran.
 
"[President Obama] has made it clear that he will entertain the notion of a bilateral discussion," said Kerry. "That was made clear during the campaign most recently when he was running for reelection. The issue came up."
 
After Rome, Kerry heads to Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf Arab states before concluding his first foreign trip as secretary of state.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Qatar crown prince, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, start their meeting at the Prince's Sea Palace residence in Doha, Qatar, March 5, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is met by Qatari Chief of Protocol Abdullah Fakhroo and Qatari Ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed al-Rumaihi at Doha International Airport, March 5, 2013.
  • The red carpet is rolled up after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry boarded his plane to leave Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on his way to the final destination of Qatar, March 5, 2013.
  • Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan invites U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to pose with him for a photograph before their dinner meeting at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 4, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 3, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, March 3, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends an Antikabir Wreath Laying ceremony at the Tomb of Ataturk in Ankara, Turkey, March 2, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference with Syrian National Coalition Chairman Mouaz al-Khatib and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi at Villa Madama in Rome, Feb. 28, 2013.
  • A peace activist protests at the end of statements given by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Syrian National Coalition President Mouaz al-Khatib at Villa Madama in Rome, Feb. 28, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Feb. 27, 2013.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures while standing with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 26, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to the media at the Chancellery in Berlin, Feb. 26, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with the children of U.S. embassy staff in Berlin, Feb. 26, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London, Feb. 25, 2013.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits with the traveling media aboard a plane en route to London on his inaugural trip as secretary, Feb. 24, 2013.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
March 01, 2013 11:20 AM
And Russia will show itself to be strong if it can be both evil and cruel in the way it cuts away Assad.

by: fan from: new york
February 27, 2013 7:07 PM
When we are not busy overthrowing governments we are helping others to do so....and you wonder why we are hated so much.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs