Remarks With Philippine Foreign Secretary del Rosario Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Shangri-La Hotel
Jakarta, Indonesia
October 20, 2014

QUESTION: Could I just ask you a very brief question about the thinking that went into the air drops of the weapons and ammunition into Kobane?


QUESTION: And, for both of you, I'm wondering if you could talk -- say anything about how concerned, if at all you are, about the case of this Marine, American Marine, who's been accused of murder in the Philippines.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me first take the occasion to welcome my friend, Albert del Rosario, the Foreign Minister from the Philippines. And we have been meeting now in many different occasions over the course of the last year and a half. And the Philippines is a very strong, long-term ally of ours. We are very grateful for the support on major crises of the day, particularly on ISIL and on the challenge of Ebola, which we will talk about a little bit now.

With respect to the resupply of Turkey, let me just say very, very respectfully to our allies, the Turks, that we understand fully the fundamentals of their opposition and ours to any kind of terrorist group, and particularly, obviously, the challenges they face with respect to the PKK. But we have undertaken a coalition effort to degrade and destroy ISIL. And ISIL is presenting itself in major numbers in this place called Kobane, and they have chosen to make this a grounded battle, attacking a small group of people there who, while they are a offshoot group of the folks that the -- our friends, the Turks, oppose, they are valiantly fighting ISIL.

And we cannot take our eye off the prize here. It would be irresponsible of us, as well as morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL, as hard as it is, at this particular moment. And we talked with Turkish authorities -- I did, the President did -- to make it very, very clear this is not a shift of policy by the United States. It is a crisis moment, an emergency where we clearly do not want to see Kobane become a horrible example of the unwillingness of people to be able to help those who are fighting ISIL.

So, there is this momentary effort. But what we did say very clearly is, "Help us to get the Peshmerga or other groups in there who will continue this, and we don't need to do that." And I think that's very much the objective, and I think that's very much the way we are going.

So, our hope is that, indeed, Kurds who have proven themselves to be very strong and valiant fighters will take this fight on, and it won't be necessary for us to have this kind of delicate reach, if you will, in terms of people's different interests.

With respect to the Marine, whatever charges there are, whatever infractions have been affected by any American anywhere, we believe in the rule of law, and we believe in our agreement. It is very important for our agreements to be upheld. It is very important for the rule of law to be upheld, for his rights to be protected, but for the process to unfold appropriately. And we will, indeed, uphold our agreements with our friends in the Philippines; they deserve nothing less. The people of the Philippines who are gracious enough to permit an arrangement whereby we meet mutual interests with this kind of a force's presence need to know that we're not seeking a special privilege, that everybody's rights will be appropriately protected. And that's exactly what we will do here. Due process will play out, and we will work with the Philippines in order to make certain that rule of law and the agreement are upheld.

FOREIGN SECRETARY DEL ROSARIO: Well, you want me to talk about --

QUESTION: Well, I wonder if you're concerned that this is causing stress in an otherwise good relationship.

FOREIGN SECRETARY DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think we are concerned, and it's unfortunate that we had this tragic event. But, as my friend John had mentioned, we do have all the mechanisms in place so that justice can properly be served.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you all.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much. Appreciate it, thank you.