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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
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 Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
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 Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs