Remarks With UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura After Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Geneva, Switzerland
January 14, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, all. It’s a great privilege for me to have a chance to meet with Staffan de Mistura, who is engaged in a very complicated but very, very important effort to try to move the process of Syria, and starting with an effort focused on Aleppo. The United States is particularly concerned about the continued catastrophe that is unfolding in Syria where nearly three-quarters of the entire country are displaced people today. It is time for President Assad, the Assad regime to put their people first and to think about the consequences of their actions, which are attracting more and more terrorists to Syria, basically because of their efforts to remove Assad.

So we hope that the Russian efforts could be helpful. We hope that the UN efforts led by Special Envoy de Mistura can have effect, and we wanted to meet today to talk about this, and I wish him well. He’s heading to Damascus next week, and this issue still remains very much on our front burner and we will continue to work with you.

MR. DE MISTURA: Thank you, thank you. Thank you, very much. I really appreciate it. The UN (inaudible) the opportunity of going through the issue of Syria, because sometimes there is a feeling that Syria is getting into backburner, and you are confirming to me it’s not. After all, this is the fourth year, and we need to find a solution and a political solution. I will continue, I can tell you, pushing for Aleppo because Aleppo has become an iconic example of where things could start sending the best signal. In other words, that bombing, shelling, barrel bombing, mortar shelling would stop, and bring some humanitarian aid, which means giving some hope to the Syrian people. You know very well – we have been hearing it (inaudible) – the Syrian people are just saying, enough. And we should not let them down, and we will continue pushing in that direction with the Secretary. Thank you for your support.

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for your efforts.

MR. DE MISTURA: Thank you, thank you.