Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday, during a phone conversation, praised “real progress” of the Syrian ceasefire agreement, that has ensured a cessation of hostilities in Syria.
“The two sides expressed an overall positive assessment of real progress in achieving a truce on Syrian soil, which is generally respected and has already led to a sharp decrease in the level of violence,” Russian Foreign Ministry said in an online statement.
Lavrov and Kerry stressed the need to prevent delay of intra-Syrian talks under UN auspices, as well as to provide humanitarian aid to blocked areas in Syria.
“It is essential to ensure from the very beginning the participation (in the intra-Syrian negotiations), along with the delegation of the Syrian government, of a wide spectrum of all opposition forces, including Syrian Kurds,” the ministry quoted Lavrov as saying.
The two diplomats confirmed that joint efforts would be paid by both countries’ representatives in Geneva to ensure smooth work of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) task forces on humanitarian and ceasefire issues.
Lavrov and Kerry discussed a schedule of political contacts for the nearest future.
They also agreed to continue cooperate with all involved parties in order to find ways to settle Yemeni conflict through political dialogue.
The Russia-U.S.-backed cessation of hostilities plan went into effect at midnight last Friday in all Syrian cities. The truce has so far been largely adhered to despite sporadic violations.
Currently, a UN-mediated intra-Syrian talk is scheduled for March 9 in Geneva as a fresh diplomatic effort to politically settle the Syria crisis.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Iran
to release Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine detained for about three years.
Kerry said the American-Iranian, who was arrested in August 2011 as a Central
Intelligence Agency spy, was “unjustly” detained while visiting his family in Iran.
“We respectfully request that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran release
Mr. Hekmati so that he may be reunited with his family in the United States,” Kerry
said in a statement released on the occasion of the Memorial Day.
“Mr. Hekmati has spent almost three years in an Iranian prison on false espionage
charges,” he added. “We remain especially concerned about reports of Mr. Hekmati’s
health in prison.”
Hekmati was condemned to death in January 2012 but the sentence was overturned
two months later by Iran’s Supreme Court after his appeal. The country’s
Revolutionary Court then charged him with “cooperating with hostile governments”
and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Noting that diplomacy requires willing partners,
Secretary of State John Kerry said the four-nation talks in Geneva April 17 reached
an accord to end the spiraling tensions and escalating violence in Ukraine.
“We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to try to narrow what are real
differences — some of them significant — and to find a way forward for the people of
Ukraine that helps them in achieving their aspiration to live in a stable, peaceful and
unified democracy,” Kerry told journalists at a press conference with European Union
High Representative Catherine Ashton.
Kerry met for seven hours with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the EU’s Ashton before announcing the four-party
agreement. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media MOSCOW—The United States’ top diplomat accused Russia on
Monday of hindering a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria by supplying its
government with arms and aid.
“Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be contributing so many more
weapons and so much more aid that they’re in fact enabling [President Bashar] Assad
to double down, which is creating an enormous problem,” US Secretary of State John
Kerry said at a news conference in Indonesia, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Russia has proven to be the Syrian government’s main international ally since internal
conflict broke out there almost three years ago.
Moscow has used its veto right in the UN Security Council to block several resolutions
aimed at putting sanctions on Assad’s government, which Western countries accuse
of using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
Russia maintains it is only supplying arms and military equipment to the war-torn
Middle Eastern country under contracts signed before the civil war erupted.
Kerry made the comments two days after international peace talks on Syria brokered
by Russia and the United States ended in Geneva without any agreements.
Russia had taken responsibility for bringing the Syrian government to the talks, while
the US, which supports the opposition, brought rebel representatives to the table.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media PARIS—US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov have called for a ceasefire in Syria ahead of the Geneva II
conference aimed at resolving the Syria crisis.
“We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire, maybe a
localized ceasefire beginning with Aleppo (north of Syria),” Kerry said on Monday after
talks with Lavrov and UN-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in
“What can be done before the beginning of the conference should be
done,” Lavrov said, adding, “We are going to try to send signals to all the
Syrian sides on the need for the establishment of a localized ceasefire.”
The top Russian diplomat also urged Iran’s participation in the talks. However, Kerry
said Tehran should first agree to the principles set out at the first Syria talks in
“Iran has yet to state whether or not it supports implementing the
Geneva 1 communiqué,” Kerry said, referring to the negotiations held in
June 2012, which demanded the creation of a transitional government
recognizing the Syrian opposition groups fighting the government forces
Geneva I accord calls for the Syrian government and opposition to form a transitional
government while Washington says there will be “no role for the Syrian President
Tehran has already stated that it will not accept any preconditions for its
participation in the upcoming Syrian talks scheduled to be held in Switzerland on
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday, “If we receive an
invitation without any preconditions, we will participate in the ‘Geneva 2′ peace
conference, but we won’t act in order to receive an invitation.”
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad should be given the “credit” for quickly starting the process of destroying chemical weapons and arsenal, and thanked Russia for its help. “The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian cooperation and obviously for the Syrian compliance,” he told reporters alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after talks in Indonesia.
“I think it’s extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed,” Kerry said. “I think it’s also a credit to the Assad regime for complying, frankly, as they are supposed to. We hope that will continue. I am not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road. But it’s a good beginning and we should welcome a
In less expansive comments on the latest developments, Lavrov said he was “satisfied”, and promised Russia would continue to ensure Assad’s government completed the dismantling process. “The Russian side will do everything so Damascus will follow the co-operation without any changes,” Lavrov told reporters in Russian, with his comments translated into English.
Experts destroyed missile warheads, aerial bombs and chemical mixing equipment Sunday on the first day of the campaign to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, the UN said.
The operation, performed by Syrian personnel under the supervision of international disarmament experts, took place under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution that will see Damascus relinquish the banned arms.
Kerry emphasised the dismantling process had occurred in “record time”, and hailed it as a model for international co-operation. “I think that was a terrific example of global co-operation, of multilateral efforts, to accomplish an accepted goal,” he said. Concerning the Geneva II conference, Lavrov said Russia and the US have agreed to push for holding Syria peace talks in mid-November. “Today we agreed on the steps needed for both the government and the opposition to come to the conference,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media NEW YORK—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his U.S.
counterpart John Kerry announced Friday they agreed to convene a new meeting on
Syria in New York on the sidelines of the activities of the UN General Assembly due to
kick off later this month.
“Kerry understands the necessity to make progress in finding a political solution to the
crisis in Syria,” Lavrov told a press conference following a tripartite meeting in Geneva
with Kerry and UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
He described the meeting as “fruitful” and pointed out that Brahimi called for
discussing the long-term prospects to find a political solution to the crisis which were
stated in the statement issued by the international conference on Syria, held last
year in Geneva.
For his part, Kerry highlighted the need for work to make successful the process of
placing the chemical weapons in Syria under international control and to put an end
to the crisis.
Reuters said Kerry described the ongoing talks about chemical weapons in Syria as
Newscast Media JERUSALEM—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday
that the Israelis and the Palestinians will meet within two weeks for more peace talks,
and all the final status issues—Jerusalem, security, the Jewish settlements, borders
and refugees, will be on the table for negotiations.
“The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous and substantive
negotiations on the core issues, and they will meet within the next two weeks either
in Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal
negotiations,” the top American envoy told reporters at the State Department at the
conclusion of two-day initial talks between the two sides.
The initial talks aimed at setting agenda and procedures for the formal final status
negotiations that both sides have agreed will last at least nine months. Kerry
described the meetings as “constructive” and “positive.”
“The parties have agreed here today that all the final status issues, all the core
issues and all other issues are all on the table for negotiations,” Kerry told the press,
with Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erekat at
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted on Wednesday the Syrian Army had achieved great gains in the northern border city of Qusayr, but said they were not permanent. Ahead of a meeting of the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ group in Amman, Kerry called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to make “a commitment to find peace in his country.”
In the same context, Kerry threatened if President Assad was unwilling to negotiate on peace terms, U.S. and other countries would discuss increasing support to Syrian opposition, without elaborating what kind of support they would offer.
US Congress committee voted on Wednesday on a bill to arm Syrian Islamists in their fight against the Arab country.
Speaking at a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, Kerry said a US-Russian proposed conference in Geneva seeks “to end the bloodshed what has cost tens of thousands of lives.”
“We are committed to try to work this evening to find the unity in specific approaches, to find the unity to implement Geneva 1…that will allow the people of Syria to choose the future of Syria,” he said.
That was a reference to an international conference last June in which several steps were laid down for ending the war, which were never implemented. The foreign ministers of Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States are attending the Amman gathering.
The meeting seeks to discuss US-Russian proposal to hold a peace conference dubbed “Geneva 2″ to bring together the opposition and representatives of the Syrian government.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John
Kerry met with senior Arab League officials to discuss the 10-year-old Arab Peace
Initiative’s role in helping to resolve the long-standing Arab-Israeli conflict.
“During the course of those discussions, on behalf of the president of the United
States, I underscored the Arab League’s very important role that it is playing and has
determined to play in bringing about a peace to the Middle East and specifically by
reaffirming the Arab Peace Initiative … with a view to ending the conflict,” Kerry said
at an April 29 press conference following their meeting.
Biden and Kerry met with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al
Thani, chairman of the Arab Peace Initiative follow-up committee; Arab League
Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby; and senior officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan,
Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Saudi Arabia at Blair House, across from the
The Arab Peace Initiative was proposed as a comprehensive plan at the 2002 Beirut
Summit of the Arab League by the then crown prince, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
It was re-endorsed at the 2007 Riyadh Arab League Summit.
The initiative calls for the following:
• An end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
• The 22-member Arab League to provide full normalization of relations with Israel in
exchange for Israel’s withdrawal to its June 4, 1967, borders, including East
• A “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee crisis based on U.N. General Assembly
Resolution 194, which ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and which resolves that any
refugees desiring to return to their homes and living in peace be able to do so or be
At the Blair House conference, Prime Minister Hamad told journalists that the league
reaffirmed its peace initiative based on a two-state solution. Hamad also said that
they agreed to a modification to the peace initiative which allows for a “comparable
and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” between the Israelis and Palestinians
recognizing the reality of burgeoning communities that have grown up in the years
Kerry told journalists after the meeting: “We’ve had a very positive, very constructive
discussion in the course of the afternoon with positive results.”
President Obama had outlined in May 2011 his vision of Middle East peace with the
two states — Israel and a Palestinian state — living side by side in peace and
security brought about through direct negotiations between the two parties. Obama
also stressed that the 1967 borders were part of the basis for an Arab-Israeli
The Arab Peace Initiative has the support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.
Kerry said that U.S. officials and the Arab League delegation “agreed that peace
between Israelis and Palestinians would advance security, prosperity and stability in
the Middle East.” They also agreed to continue with the peace consultations.
by Anugrah Kumar
Newscast Media BEIJING—Secretary of State John Kerry flew to China on Saturday and met with that country’s top leaders, seeking their help in dealing with North Korea, which has threatened attacks against South Korea and the U.S. and remains unwilling to return to nuclear talks.
After the meetings, Kerry told reporters in Beijing he urged China to take a more activist stance towards North Korea, and called his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping “constructive and forward-leaning.”
“Mr. President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues—issues on the Korean Peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost,” Kerry told Xi at the Great Hall of the People, according to Reuters.
Kerry, who visited China for the first time as secretary of state, said both governments called on the North “to refrain from any provocative steps and that obviously refers to any future missile shoot.”
“We are able, the United States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner,” Kerry said, adding there will be “further discussions to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal.”
China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who was with Kerry at the press conference, was quoted as saying, “We maintain that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation. To properly address the Korea nuclear issue serves the common interests of all parties. It is also the shared responsibility of all parties.”
Kerry also told Beijing that American missile defenses in the region, which has been a concern for China, could be reduced if North Korea discontinued its nuclear program.
“Obviously if the threat disappears—i.e. North Korea denuclearizes—the same imperative does not exist at that point of time for us to have that kind of robust forward leaning posture of defense,” The New York Times quoted him as saying. “And it would be our hope in the long run, or better yet in short run, that we can address that.”
The secretary of state said the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, and intelligence officials will visit Beijing this month. He said he wanted to ensure that the pledges made by Beijing were “not just rhetoric.” “There is no question in my mind that China is very serious—very serious, about denuclearizing,” BBC quoted him as saying.
Xi said Kerry is the second key member of President Barack Obama’s administration to visit China within a month after Xi was elected president in March, and this shows both countries’ full understanding of the importance of Sino-U.S. ties, according to China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency.
Currently the Sino-US relationship is in a new era with a good start, and both sides are devoted to building a new type of relationship between powers, Xi said, adding he believes Kerry’s visit will contribute to the positive momentum of the developing bilateral ties.
China is North Korea’s main trading partner and financial backer, and therefore has a unique ability to use its leverage against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry said in South Korea on Friday before leaving for Beijing.
Kerry’s Asia visit, which includes a stop in Tokyo on Sunday, comes weeks after North Korean threats of war since the imposition of new U.N. sanctions in response to its third nuclear test two months ago.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United States has shifted its policy toward Syria by deciding for the first time to send assistance directly to the rebels fighting to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
“We need to stand on the side of those in this fight who want to see Syria rise again in unity and see a democracy and human rights and justice,” Secretary of State John Kerry said at an international conference in Rome February 28. “We can’t risk letting this country, in the heart of the Middle East, be destroyed by vicious autocrats or hijacked by the extremists.” Kerry said the assistance will be non-lethal.
The chairman of the Syrian Opposition Council, Moaz al-Khatib, attended the meeting in Rome, along with representatives from 11 other countries, including Egypt, Turkey and countries in Europe and the Gulf . They all support the downfall of the Assad regime and consider the Syrian Opposition Council the legitimate voice of the Syrian people.
Kerry announced that $60 million in additional U.S. aid will be put directly into the hands of the Syrian opposition leaders to help them strengthen their organizational capacity as well as provide sanitation, food delivery and medical care in areas they control.
Kerry said the Syrian rebels will receive the U.S. aid without delay because part of the money has already been programmed and because members of Congress are ready to allocate more funds to bring about the downfall of Assad.
Kerry said the U.S. contribution to the Syrian rebels is just one part of the assistance package the entire group in Rome is sending to the anti-Assad fighters.
“Different countries are choosing to do different things,” Kerry said. “I am absolutely confident … that the totality of this effort is going to have an impact on the ability of the Syrian opposition to accomplish its goals.”
Washington has provided $385 million in humanitarian relief to Syrian refugees and internally displaced people and $50 million in communication and broadcast equipment to help Syrian rebels communicate with each other and to spread their message throughout the country.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The chance that Susan Rice will become the next U.S. Secretary of State is high, but the decision will be counterproductive in regard to U.S. foreign relations in the Middle East. Why Barack Obama would choose someone like Rice is baffling for reasons I will elucidate in this article. Of all the choices that the Democrats have for the position Sen. John Kerry is perhaps the most
suitable person for such an undertaking, given the strained US-Arab relations in the Middle East.
Susan Rice is unsuitable for the position, not because she is unqualified, but because of the cultural dynamics in the geopolitical region (Middle East), that the U.S. is attempting to stabilize. This might sound like a harsh reality to Americans, but the cultural reason in the Middle East that works against Susan Rice if she gets the position, is because she is a woman.
My Arab friends who read my articles on a regular basis will agree with me on this one. This is simply part of a religious and cultural belief in that particular region. In Islam, women are viewed differently than men. Islamic law even forbids men to shake hands with non-related women, that’s why Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi will not shake hands with Hillary Clinton—at least not in public.
Obama is fully aware of the Islamic Sharia teaching that says: “It’s not permissible for a man to touch the face or hand of a non-mahram woman (non-relative woman), and it is not permissible for him to put his hand on hers without a barrier.” —Muhammad ibn Ahmad (‘Ulaysh)
In fact, when Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William was congratulating athletes upon winning medals at the Olympics, male athletes from Islamic countries that abide by strict Islamic law refused to shake her hand. A spokesperson from St. James Palace then issued the following statement: “Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related for cultural and religious reasons…” as reported by the New York Daily News.
Not all Muslims though observe that law. For instance, Erdogon of Turkey, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, King Abdullah of Jordan, Bashar Assad of Syria, Muhamood Abbas of Palestine, and a few more, aren’t as regimented and have been photographed shaking hands publicly with women they are not related to, and are considered to be moderate Muslims.
If the U.S. were trying to create stability in regions like Europe, Asia, South America or sub-Saharan Africa, Susan Rice’s secretaryship would suffice. However, the war is in a region tainted with radical Islamist elements, most of whom are on the State Department’s list of terrorists. For this reason, a man would be more suitable to negotiate the “laying down of arms” and peace treaties within such a geopolitical
region, and John Kerry has the experience and dynamism to do just that. Rice seems to be cold and very calculating, while John Kerry is warm, engaging an likable. Below is a raw video I recorded that captures Kerry’s dynamism.
In this brief raw unedited video, I captured John Kerry interacting with the crowd as he exudes
warmth, a dynamic personality and a sense of awareness of his surroundings.
—Raw video by Joseph Earnest
If Barack Obama is serious about creating meaningful and lasting change in the Middle East he should pick someone like John Kerry or even Johnny Carson who did an excellent job in sub-Saharan Africa. He picked Hillary Clinton in part, to continue the pattern set by Bill Clinton who chose Madeline Albright in 1997, followed by George W. Bush who chose Condoleeza Rice, then in his first term Obama chose Hillary Clinton.
Sun Tzu, one of the world’s greatest war tacticians said: “A true warrior is supposed to behave like the snake of Mt. ChUng…If you strike it on the head, the tail will attack you. If you strike it on its tail, the head will attack you…and if you strike it in the middle, both head and tail will attack you.” Sun Tzu The Art of War (page 54).
Isn’t it time to change our tactics in the Middle East and have a man-to-man talk with radical Islamist elements that are creating instability?