Kerry admits differences with Saudi over Syria

Kerry admits differences with Saudi over Syria
Mon Nov 4, 2013 23:07:51

Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Monday that US ties with Saudi Arabia are "strategic and enduring", even as differences on Syria remained after a visit aimed at easing tension.

The top US diplomat was hastily dispatched to Riyadh to patch things up after rare complaints from Riyadh over Washington's policies on Syria.

"Our relationship is strategic, it is enduring and it covers a wide range" of issues, he told reporters as he wound up a visit, including a two-hour meeting with King Abdullah.

Washington and Riyadh shared many current concerns, Kerry said, highlighting the difficult transition in Egypt and the war in Syria.

But Prince Saud, while stressing the strength of ties with the United States, slammed the "international community's failure to stop the war against the Syrian people".

Negotiations to solve any crisis "shouldn't just go on indefinitely", he said in reference to a US-Russian proposed peace conference.

He insisted that some "grave issues desperately need decisive and resolute intervention that should put an end to the human tragedies they produced".

Saudi Arabia expressed anger after US President Barack Obama stepped back after threatening a punitive strike against Syria over a chemical attack in August on a rebel-held district near Damascus.

Kerry reiterated that Washington opposes military intervention to end the 31-month conflict.

"Absent a negotiated solution we don't see a lot of ways to end the violence that are implementable or palatable to us, because we don't have the legal authority, or the justification or the desire at this point to get in the middle of a civil war," he said.

"I think that's been made very, very clear, " he added.

Saudi Arabia is concerned that proposed Syrian peace talks could leave Assad government in place in Damascus.


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