Remarks With French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius After Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Paris, France
November 20, 2014


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, Laurent. I think basically what I’m going to say will effectively be the English version of what Laurent has just said to you, because we are in agreement. And I want to begin by thanking Laurent for hosting me here today and for working, as he has, so effectively over the last months in order to get us to the place where we have the choice that is before us.

We covered, as he said, a vast arena – tragically, too much of it of conflict – of the challenges that we face today. And we talked about Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the challenge of Iraq, ISIL, and of course, as Laurent said, we also were significantly focused on the issue of Iran. Yes, we do want to get an agreement, but it’s not just any agreement. It has to be an agreement that works, that achieves the goal of guaranteeing that the pathways to a bomb will not and cannot be used. And we are united, all of us in the P5+1, in our sense of where the issues are, what the issues are, and what we need to do.

We are going to work very hard; our teams are on the ground in Vienna now. We hope that those gaps that exist – and they do exist – can be closed. And we believe, all of us, that if you have a peaceful nuclear program, it really isn’t that hard technically to be able to prove that it is peaceful. Our hope is that we’ll be able to close the gaps, move forward, work with our technical experts, our teams, and see whether or not in the next days we can move closer to or achieve some sense of how we close the agreement.

So that’s where we are. We’re not going to negotiate in public. We’re going to proceed carefully in the next days. And again, I’m very grateful to Laurent for his advice and counsel, and most of all his partnership in this effort. The partnership of France, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, China, Russia has been solid, even with differences on other kinds of issues. We are all working in concert on this and we hope we can define the finish line and get there.


SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Merci.