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.
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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs