Kerry insists that Assad cannot be part of Syria's new government
Speaking before talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry said all sides were working to "effect a transition government by mutual consent of both sides, which clearly means that in our judgement President Assad will not be a component of that transitional government."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he can hardly imagine how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can remain in power in the future, although he believes this is not an issue to be decided on right now.
"It's impossible for me as an individual to understand how Syria could possibly be governed in the future by the man who has committed the things that we know have taken place. But that's not - I'm not going to decide that tonight. And I'm not going to decide that in the end. Because the Geneva communique says that the transitional government has to be chosen by mutual consent by the parties," Kerry said at a press conference following negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow late on Tuesday.
"Who are the parties? The parties are the current regime and the opposition. So what we're going to undertake to do is to try to get them in a position where they, representing the people they represent - Syria and the interests they represent - put people into a transitional government by mutual consent," he added.
"Up until now, I think there has been a perception that Russia and the United States haven't been particularly on the same page of cooperating in this effort. So what I think is significant is that we are here to say that we are going to cooperate in trying to implement the Geneva communique, and I think our understanding of that communique is very similar," he said.
A decision on whether to supply arms to the Syrian opposition will depend on definitive findings as to whether chemical weapons were used during the ongoing crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.
"I think that ultimately that will be determined to some degree by the state of the evidence with respect to chemical weapons and what steps have been taken," Kerry said at a press conference following negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow late on Tuesday.
Kerry admitted that many at the U.S. Senate share the idea of supplying arms to the Syrian opposition. However, "I think if this kind of process can move successfully to bring parties together and actually implement the Geneva communique, then hopefully that would not be necessary," he said.
Russia's and the U.S.' positions on settling the conflict in Syria have not differed too much since the beginning of the standoff, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"I would not say that these positions were very much different. We, as well as the U.S., have always favored a political solution," Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow.
These goals are provided for by the Geneva communique on Syria, Lavrov said. "We are pleased and we value it that the Obama administration represented by the secretary of state shares our position. We have made an important step to make sure that everyone hears Russia's and the U.S.' voice," he said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, AFP