Remarks at COP21
Secretary of State
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thank you.
Well, we had a very constructive meeting. There are – there’s a lot of progress, progress made last night, a long night, but are still a couple of very difficult issues that we’re working on. And over the course of today, we’ll have some meetings with various groups to work those through. I’m hopeful. I think there is a way to go forward, that there’s a reasonableness. And over the course of the next hours this should take shape, and it’s possible that it could come to a conclusion sometime tomorrow.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Mr. Fabius said there would be a final draft that he expects to be accepted tomorrow.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, that’s the hope. And we work through today with a lot of consultations. The responsibility is on a lot of us to provide language for the potential of compromise in areas where it’s possible. And then I think the chair, the presidency has to resolve some of those differences, and then people have to make judgments about whether or not that resolution meets needs. I think some of us have been working quietly behind the scenes to work out compromises ahead of time on some of those issues. And so tomorrow will be really a reflection of many of those compromises surfacing. And hopefully, there’s a consensus and a strong feeling that the best that you can do with such a vast group of nations, 186 people, has been arrived at in a fair manner. And that’ll be the test.
QUESTION: What are the consensus on which issues? Which issues would the consensus be on?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’d rather – I’d rather let them sort of work through than single them out. I think you’ve been hearing the debate through a period of time. But hopefully, there won’t be contentious. Hopefully, in the course of today, that will melt away. And that’s our objective.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I know you’ve been busy on this, but have you had a chance to look at the agreement that the Syrian opposition forces came to in Saudi Arabia yesterday?
SECRETARY KERRY: Yes, I have looked at it and I’ve been very much in touch with people during that entire process. I was on the phone with many of the players yesterday. I talked to Muhammad bin Salman and Adel al-Jubeir last night. I am talking again to Adel al-Jubeir this morning, because we’ve had a chance to review it. And there are some questions and obviously a couple of – in our judgment – kinks to be worked out, and I’m confident they’re going to be worked out. So I’ll be having a conversation with them during the course of today to try to work through those.
QUESTION: Will the Syrian support group be able to meet in New York on December the 18th?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we have to see. I have to hear what the answer are to some questions that we have today. And then we’ll let you know.
STAFF: Thanks, everybody.
STAFF: Sir, we have to go.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all. Appreciate it.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the visa waiver and the visa --
STAFF: We got to go.
QUESTION: The visa vetting and the visa waiver program have come under increased scrutiny while we’ve been over here.
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Do you think there are enough safeguards in place in light of San Bernardino?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, that’s exactly what we’re reviewing it for. We need to make certain, given the new circumstances that we’re facing, that there’s no potential loophole whatsoever. And by and large, it is a very vetted, highly extensive review that takes place before anybody even qualifies. But we have to review whether or not there is some possibility that someone might be able to get through that. And obviously, it has to be fail-safe. And that’s what the American people need and deserve. So it will be reviewed with the highest standard in mind, and that review is ongoing right now.
QUESTION: Thank you.