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February 16th, 2014
10:23 AM ET

Kerry: 'None of us are surprised' the talks have been hard

Statement from Secretary of State John Kerry on the Geneva conference and the situation in Syria:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

There's no recess in the suffering of the Syrian people, and the parties and the international community must use the recess in the Geneva talks to determine how best to use this time and its resumption to find a political solution to this horrific civil war.

None of us are surprised that the talks have been hard, and that we are at a difficult moment, but we should all agree that the Asad regime’s obstruction has made progress even tougher. It was an example to all the world that while the regime obstructed and filibustered, the opposition demonstrated a courageous and mature seriousness of purpose and willingness to discuss all aspects of the conflict. They put forward a viable and well-reasoned roadmap for the creation of a transitional governing body and a viable path by which to move the negotiations forward. That's precisely the spirit of the Geneva I Communique, and we commend the opposition for responsibly meeting its spirit.

The opposition delegation has regularly demonstrated that they are willing to engage constructively in the interests of all the Syrian people.  In sharp contrast, we have seen a refusal to engage on the part of the regime.  While it stalled in Geneva, the regime intensified its barbaric assault on its civilian population with barrel bombs and starvation.  It has even gone as far as to add some of the opposition delegates at Geneva to a terrorist list and seize their assets.  This is reprehensible.

The international community understands that the primary purpose of our diplomacy is to discuss the full implementation of the Geneva communiqué, including the creation of a transitional governing body.  The Syrian deserve no less.  We call on the regime's supporters to press the regime.  In the end, they will bear responsibility if the regime continues with its intransigence in the talks and its brutal tactics on the ground.

The United States deeply appreciates the efforts of Joint Special Representative Brahimi to secure a negotiated political transition.  We remain committed to the Geneva process and to all diplomatic efforts to find a political solution as the only way to a lasting and sustainable end to the conflict.


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