Remarks With UN Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi Following Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Winfield House
London, United Kingdom
October 14, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Well, it’s my pleasure this morning to welcome Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi here to Winfield House in London – it’s the home of our American ambassador – and to have a conversation, an important conversation, about the urgency of the convening of the Geneva conference, to try to achieve peace for a new Syria. And we talked about all aspects of this current crisis.

Special Representative Brahimi and I agree, as do many others, that there is no military solution in Syria, and we believe it is urgent to set a date, convene the conference, and work towards a new Syria.

We also, expressing my own point of view – because he’s the negotiator and it’s not his point of view to say this – but we believe that President Assad has lost the legitimacy necessary to be able to be a cohesive force, that could bring people together, and that it is clear that in implementing Geneva 1, which is the only purpose for having the Geneva conference now, there has to be a transition government. There has to be a new governing entity in Syria in order to permit the possibility of peace.

This will require all the parties to come together in good faith. The Special Representative will be traveling shortly to the region, meeting with all of the relevant countries, as well as the relevant parties. And he will be working on the question of the process for a Geneva 2 conference.

But for our part, the United States of America, together with the Russians, as we talked about it in the Far East a few days ago, are deeply committed to trying to set a date very soon, to moving towards an inclusive conference that will offer the best opportunity to end the violence, to provide for a new Syria, to deal with the humanitarian catastrophe that is only getting worse by the day, and ultimately to try to find a way to have peace and stability, not just in Syria but in the region.

And we are very, very appreciative to the Special Representative, for his commitment to this, for his hard work, for his team and their efforts. We believe that we’re in a position to try to get started. It will require good faith by everybody, but that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to work towards.

Mr. Representative, thank you.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRAHIMI: Thank you very much, indeed.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRAHIMI: And I am extremely grateful to you, Secretary of State, for the opportunity you have given me, of heading for a new after your time in the Far East and your discussions with the Russians, who are your partners. You started this on the 7th of May in Moscow together. And we have joined with you in these trilateral discussions that we are having in Geneva several times. And we agree 100 percent that there is no military solution in Syria. There can be, there will be a political solution if everybody gets together and works for it.

I think that when we met in New York – with the P5 and the Secretary General and myself – we have said that this conference, Geneva 2, to implement Geneva 1, has to meet in November. And I think that very soon we’ve got now to set it. The (inaudible) for the conference to start and we look forward to everybody who can help the Syrians solve their problems must be there. And of course the Syrians themselves have to have private place in that conference, because the negotiations will be depend on them.

As you said, Secretary, I’m going to the region immediately after (inaudible) to see as many people as I can to discuss with them, hear from them, what are their preoccupations, what are their ideas, how they can contribute to make this Geneva conference that is coming success, for the Syria people, for our region, and for everybody. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend. We are very appreciative of your work. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2013/T15-27