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Kerry, Kuwaiti Leaders Discuss Syria, Other Mideast Issues

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khalid Hamad al-Sabah speak to the media in Kuwait City June 26, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Wednesday with Kuwaiti leaders to talk about the war in Syria and prospects for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Following talks with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Emir Sheikh Sabah Khalid Hamad al-Sabah, Kerry said the United States and Kuwait are working together on a political solution to the Syrian crisis based on planned talks in Geneva to form a transitional authority.

"The chaotic situation in Syria is troubling to everybody, and the Kuwaiti government expressed its views very strongly about their hope for a political settlement, their support for Geneva," he said.

With Iran and Hezbollah backing forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Kerry said the prospect for a long and protracted war is now "very possible."

"You may ultimately have the complete destruction of the state of Syria, so that the army, the institutions will fall apart and you will have a complete sectarian breakdown. And that becomes far more dangerous for all of the region because it will empower extremists, as well as create an ongoing sectarian strife that this region will feel for a long time to come," said Kerry.

Kerry is in the region to help coordinate the supply of weapons to the Syrian rebellion. He already has met with leaders in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are presently thought to be the rebels' primary source of arms.

Here in Kuwait, there is concern about some wealthy citizens openly funding more extremist elements of the Syrian opposition. Asked about that at a joint press availability with Secretary Kerry, Sabah Khalid Hamad al-Sabah said there are tight controls on fundraising. He said fundraising in Kuwait is restricted to make sure that support goes to the "right side" in the Syrian conflict and to help ease the suffering of the Syrian people.

During their talks, Kerry and Sabah Khalid Hamad al-Sabah also discussed the fate of two Kuwaitis at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In addition, they talked about planned protests in Egypt, and the Middle East peace process ahead of Kerry's upcoming talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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