Kerry: US chances slim to revive Syria peace

Kerry: US chances slim to revive Syria peace
Tue Jun 4, 2013 15:20:00

The United States came “late” to efforts to find a political settlement to the war in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday, as the crisis there deepened with the political uncertainty in neighboring Turkey.

Kerry said an international conference remained the best approach for ending the fighting, but his remarks carried the implication that the Obama administration had moved too slowly in its first term to seek a negotiated political solution to a conflict that erupted more than two years ago and turned into a war.

“This is a very difficult process, which we come to late,” Mr. Kerry said after meeting at the State Department with Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski.

“We are trying to prevent the sectarian violence from dragging Syria down into a complete and total implosion,” Kerry claimed.

The State Department’s spokeswoman, Jennifer R. Psaki, said Kerry’s remarks had not been intended as a rebuke of the administration’s policy thus far.

His remarks underscored the ferment in the region, including the wave of protests in Turkey against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although the protests began over a park project and remained focused on Erdogan’s leadership, the Obama administration sounded quite concerned by the prospect that they could distract Turkey’s government from helping manage the crisis in Syria and elsewhere in the region.

Kerry further claimed in his remarks that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to “blame entirely” for “what is happening in Syria,” because his family has been in power for years and “will not consent to an appropriate process” for Syrian people to “decide their future.”