Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gaza: online reactions

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rise of the Robots

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza, From Bad to Worse? With no Ceasefire in Sight, Conflict Spillover Felt Elsewhere (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza, From Bad to Worse? With no Ceasefire in Sight, Conflict Spillover Felt Elsewhere

Read more

EUROPE NOW

Best of Europe Now (Part 1)

Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Israeli soldier missing in Gaza, says media reports

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ suburb of Paris

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • France slams ‘anti-Semitic’ violence at pro-Palestinian rally

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

  • Kristoff wins Tour’s flat Stage 15

    Read more

Americas

Kerry begins first foreign trip as secretary of state

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-02-26

John Kerry landed in London Sunday at the start of his first trip as US secretary of state, an 11-day tour that will take him to Paris, Berlin, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Rome, where he hopes to meet the Syrian opposition for talks.

John Kerry views his first trip as U.S. secretary of state as a listening tour, but the leaders he meets will want to hear whether he has any new ideas on Syria, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kerry arrived on Sunday in London, the first stop on a nine-nation, 11-day trip that will also take him to Berlin, Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before he returns home on March 6.

After talks with allies in London, Berlin and Paris, the centerpiece of Kerry’s European tour is a visit to Rome where he hopes to meet members of the Syrian opposition as well as a wider group of nations seeking to support them in their nearly two-year quest to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Those talks, however, appeared to be in some doubt as a result of dissension within the opposition about the utility of such international meetings given the continuing violence.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war in the last 22 months since fighting broke out between rebels trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and government forces and allied militias.

“The Syrian opposition leadership is under severe pressure now from its membership, from the Syrian people, to get more support from the international community and in that context there’s quite a bit of internal discussion about the value of going to international conferences,” the official told reporters travelling with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“The point that we’re trying to make ... is that they have an opportunity in Rome with the meeting that the Italians have offered to host to see the very countries that have been their greatest supporters,” the official said.

President Barack Obama has limited U.S. support to non-lethal aid for the rebels who, despite receiving weapons from countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are poorly armed compared to Assad’s army and loyalist militias.

U.S. officials travelling with Kerry declined to say what new thoughts he may have on ending the violence.

They also said they did not expect any breakthroughs in Berlin on Tuesday when he meets Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia, which along with China has blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions to sanction the Assad government.

Russia has said that insisting on Assad’s departure as a condition for peace negotiations between the government and the opposition would prevent such talks from ever taking place. The opposition, backed by the United States and much of Europe, has made plain Assad can play no role in a future Syrian government.

“We are not expecting this meeting to be a big breakthrough either, but we’re going to keep working it,” a second senior U.S. official told reporters with Kerry.

Iran talks

Kerry makes his first foreign trip as senior U.S. diplomats, along with counterparts from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, will meet Iranian officials on Tuesday in Kazakhstan in an effort to persuade Iran to curtail its nuclear programme.

The United States and many of its allies suspect Iran may be using its civil nuclear programme as a cover to develop atomic weapons, a possibility that Israel, which is regarded as the Middle East’s only nuclear power, sees as an existential threat.

Iran says its programme is solely for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity and making medical isotopes.

Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution think-tank said Saudi King Abdullah would regard himself, rather than Kerry, as the listening party and want to hear of any new U.S. approaches on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran and other issues.

“There is not a high level of expectation that it is going to be able to break the logjam on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons programme and topple Bashar al-Assad,” he added. “The Saudis will understand that Kerry will try to put a new face on policies which are now pretty well known but they will be looking for what’s new.”

(REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2013-02-25

  • USA

    Clinton set to pass diplomatic torch to Kerry

    Read more

  • USA - FRANCE

    'Monsieur' John Kerry and the French connection

    Read more

  • USA

    John Kerry: 'the perfect choice' for secretary of state

    Read more

COMMENT(S)