John Kerry Urges Russia And Iran To Bring Assad To Talks

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The US Secretary of State appeals to "countries with influence" over the Syrian president to help bring about negotiations.

John Kerry

The US Secretary of State has called on Russia and Iran to bring Syria’s President Bashar al Assad to the negotiating table.

John Kerry made his appeal after talks in London with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond over the Syria war, which has sparked a refugee crisis across Europe.

The talks came shortly after US officials said Russia had sent at least four fighter jets to Syria to bolster Syria’s embattled forces.

Sky News reports: The US diplomat said America was prepared to negotiate.

“We need to get to the negotiation,” he said.

“That is what we’re looking for and we hope Russia and Iran, and any other countries with influence, will help to bring about that, because that’s what is preventing this crisis from ending.

“We’re prepared to negotiate. Is Assad prepared to negotiate, really negotiate? Is Russia prepared to bring him to the table?”

He said Mr Assad needs to be removed, but added that  “it doesn’t have to be on day one or month one”.

“There is a process by which all the parties have to come together to reach an understanding of how this can best be achieved.”

Philip Hammond believes that the situation in Syria is becoming more complicated because of Russian engagement.

“I think we need to discuss this as part of a much bigger problem, the migration pressures, the humanitarian crisis in Syria as well as the need to defeat Isil.”

Meanwhile, the first talks between US and Russian defence chiefs in more than a year have taken place.

Mr Kerry is on a European tour which is expected to be dominated by the Syrian conflict and is due to go to Berlin on Sunday.

Niamh Harris
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