Also Notes Areas of Agreement on Syria
Asking the opposition “to trust Assad or to accept Assad’s leadership is simply not a reasonable request,” Kerry told a gathering at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. “It is literally, therefore, a non-starter.”
Kerry added that ISIL has a symbiotic relationship with the Assad regime. “They even do business with each other,” Kerry said, “buying and selling oil.” Kerry said Assad and ISIL “are enemies far more in theory than in fact, and neither has shown any interest in bringing the killing to an end.” (Bloomberg, 12 November)
Kerry also listed areas of agreement with Russia and other nations over Syria: Inclusive governance in Syria, free and fair elections, and the need to keep state institutions intact.
In Vienna, Russia will present an eight-point plan calling for creation of a constitutional reform commission made up of opposition and regime figures. There are no provisions in the Russian plan to bar Assad from staying in power or from running in a presidential election that would follow a referendum on a new constitution. That’s what Kerry called “a non-starter.”
Photo credit: Secretary of State John Kerry during an address at USIP; Washington, 12 November 2015 (Mandel NGan/AFP/Getty Images/Bloomber)