News / Middle East

Kerry Highlights Diplomatic Efforts in Syria

US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, in Doha, Qatar on March 5, 2013.
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, in Doha, Qatar on March 5, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Arrott
Wrapping up his first foreign trip as America's top diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented a united front with Qatar on the issue of Syria, while also advancing the U.S. position for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

“Qatar and the United States have worked very hard to strengthen international sanctions against the Assad regime and help the opposition build the unity and effectiveness that they need in order to try to change President Assad's calculation on the ground,” Kerry said during a Qatar news conference as he highlighted diplomatic efforts to have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down.

Kerry spoke Tuesday in Doha alongside Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who also serves as foreign minister, who stressed that his nation supports moderate rebel forces in Syria and does not want radical groups there to win.

Qatar's outsized influence in the region, due its financial and media clout, has played an important role in the Syrian conflict, with at least some of its money said to be going to support militant Sunni Islamist groups.


“Qatar supports the elements, some of the elements in the fight, including these jihadist groups that make it sectarian," says political analyst Andrew Parasaliti, editor of Al-Monitor.com. "And that is how many in the region see the struggle in Syria, as a regional-sectarian battle and Qatar and Turkey and Saudi Arabia are one side of that and Russia [and] Iran support the Assad government on the other side of that.”

So far, the United States has ruled out sending anything other than non-lethal aid to the rebels. But Kerry appeared to take a softer position toward how U.S. allies choose to back the rebels, saying Monday he is confident that the arms will go to the “moderate, legitimate” opposition.

Kerry's visit to Qatar, the last stop on his inaugural, nine-nation tour as the top U.S. diplomat, is weighed down with baggage from a previous position.

In 2009, then-Senator Kerry highlighted the troubled nature of the relationship by saying Qatar “can't continue to be an American ally on Monday that sends money to Hamas on Tuesday,” a reference to the Palestinian group which controls Gaza, that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

“While Qatar remains an important country in terms of the regional mix, and one the United States does indeed deal with in the common interests on many issues," Parasaliti says, "there are also issues like in Syria, like the Israel-Palestinian issue where there may be sources, where there are sources of difference.

Diplomat Kerry downplayed those differences on Tuesday.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
March 06, 2013 2:33 AM
the new administration of state dept. .show that the united state is leaning to support Muslim brotherhood either in Syria and Egypt . in spite their hatred to us and their political leader say it publicly that infidel which means Christian and Jew are the enemy of Muslim brotherhood. Mr. Kerry is giving million of dollar even many American are losing their job due to budget. I believe that Mr. Kerry is not fit to be secretary of state


by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 05, 2013 3:35 PM
Three serious issues are outstanding in this horrendous conflict and they are: 1. The required resources to help the traumatized civilian victims of the conflict have not materialized in required quantities; 2. No continuous effort has been made to ensure that, under UN mandate, Humanitarian aid reaches the trapped civilians; 3. Absolutely nothing, visible/reportable, has been done to ensure the conflict does not spread beyond Syria's borders. Essentially, in my view, monitoring missions are required at least on the Syria - Lebanon border, and also probably on the Syria- Jordan border.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid