Kerry moves to salvage talks with Syrian group
LONDON — The United States is frantically trying to salvage a Syrian opposition conference that John Kerry plans to attend this week during his first official overseas trip as secretary of State.
A senior Obama administration official said on Sunday that Kerry has sent his top Syrian envoy to Cairo in hopes of convincing opposition leaders that their participation in the conference in Rome is critical to addressing questions and securing additional aid from the United States and Europe.
Some members of the sharply divided Syrian Opposition Council threatened to boycott Wednesday's meeting, the centerpiece of Kerry's nine-nation visit to Europe and the Middle East.
U.S. envoy Robert Ford will tell the opposition that the conference is a chance for foes of Syrian President Bashar Assad to make their case for more aid — and get to know Kerry.
If the meeting with Kerry were to be postponed, the official said the delay is likely to hurt chances for short-term boosts in U.S. aid or shifts in Syria policy, which is focused on providing non-lethal and humanitarian assistance to the opposition.
Kerry is on a self-described “listening tour” of Europe and the Mideast, chiefly focused on ending the crisis in Syria, where at least 70,000 people have died.
Kerry has not elaborated on those plans, but there is internal debate in the Obama administration about stepping up aid to the rebels, perhaps to include lethal military assistance.
Key to increasing pressure on Assad will be Russia. Kerry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the second stop of his trip, in Berlin, on Tuesday.
In London, his first stop, Kerry was expected to be asked by the British about the administration's views on Britain's dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FIFA rocked as U.S. indicts 14 in corruption investigation
- Popular tourist spot attacked in Afghanistan
- China orders U.S. plane to divert from airspace over islands in South China Sea
- Guatemala interior minister resigns amid political crisis
- Burundi opposition figure Feruzi shot dead in capital
- Americans with taste for mojitos flock to Havana
- Relentless heat wave kills more than 1,000 in India
- Saudi aerial offensive pummels Yemen capital
- 4 Taliban attackers killed in Kabul siege
- Britain’s pro-EU side happy with wording of referendum
- U.S. senator in Cuba says normal relations ‘weeks away’