Friday, 11 December 2015

Syrian Opposition Conference in Riyadh

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 10, 2015

We welcome the positive outcome of the gathering of the Syrian opposition in Riyadh today, including reaching a consensus on principles for a pluralistic and democratic Syria and on how to advance a political settlement to end the conflict in Syria.
As I conveyed to Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir today, we appreciate Saudi Arabia’s leadership in convening this broad and representative group of 116 participants, who agreed today on the structure of their negotiating body to represent them in the political process. We appreciate that this extremely diverse group of Syrians put aside differences in the interest of building a new Syria.
With the progress made in both Vienna and now in Riyadh, the International Syria Support Group continues to build a foundation for constructive negotiations in January under UN auspices, regarding a political transition in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012. While this important step forward brings us closer to starting negotiations between the Syrian parties, we recognize the difficult work ahead, and remain determined to continue toward a political settlement that brings an end the conflict.

Remarks at COP21

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Le Bourget
Paris, France
December 10, 2015

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, (inaudible) the update on the COP, the climate change talks?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re working away. Today’s obviously getting down to the critical stage, and we had a very constructive meeting. We feel very good about the conversation we’ve just had. We need to work on language, and that what most of today and tonight will be.
QUESTION: Secretary, any update on the Syria situation, on your talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov?
SECRETARY KERRY: Yes. Foreign Minister Lavrov and I talked yesterday at length. I talked to Foreign Minister al-Jubeir, with Foreign Minister al-Attiyah. We are planning towards the potential of a meeting in New York. Not locked in yet, but the meeting in Saudi Arabia appears to be very constructive at this point, and we need to wait for the results of that conference. But I think everybody is moving in the direction that they want to rapidly try to get to a political process and get it underway under the UN auspices.
So we’ve made progress, but we have some tough issues still to get over.
QUESTION: And is Turkey one of those – the relationship between Turkey and Russia, is that one of the biggest obstacles?
SECRETARY KERRY: No, it’s actually not. Both countries are constructively trying to move towards the political process. There are obviously tensions and there are differences, but with respect to the political process, they’re both committed to trying to make that move forward. Thank you.