Remarks With Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Wilson Hotel
Geneva, Switzerland
May 1, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: So let me just say quickly that I’m delighted to be with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, and we will be talking about not just Syria and the cessation of hostilities but a number of other regional topics, but I think we both want to emphasize the seriousness of the situation with respect to the cessation of hostilities. And we are talking directly with the Russians even now.

The hope is that we can make some progress, but the United Nations Security Council resolution calls for a full country – countrywide cessation and also for all of the country to be accessible for humanitarian assistance. Obviously, that hasn’t happened and isn’t happening, so I hope in the course of the conversations that I have here tonight and tomorrow and the work that our teams are doing importantly – we have teams meeting even today, tomorrow, in order to try to zero in on and pin down the modalities of reaffirming the cessation.

And so these are critical hours. We look for Russia’s cooperation. We obviously look for the regime to listen to Russia and to respond with the international community’s powerful statement through the UN Security Council.

FOREIGN MINISTER JUDEH: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with you and I’m glad that we had this opportunity here this evening in Geneva. As you very correctly said, the situation on the ground in Syria is quite alarming, and especially in Aleppo. A breakdown in the cessation of hostilities in and around Aleppo threatens to bring on a cessation – sorry, a challenge to the cessation of hostilities nationwide.

The – a pillar of what we discussed in the ISSG meeting in Munich and the subsequent agreement to (inaudible) negotiations is to have a cessation of hostilities and to have also access to humanitarian supplies. And I think that we have to look at the challenges that we face in the last round of negotiations and how we can avoid these hiccups that we have. And we have to address the situation on the ground today in asserting, as the Secretary said, a nationwide cessation of hostilities that will lead to a better and more conducive environment for the political track.

It’s an entire package – the cessation of hostilities, the resumption of negotiations, and the humanitarian access. I mean, I think all three of them are being challenged as we speak and I think we have to address them today. We have other issues to discuss in terms of the developments in the region – the absence of a negotiating track between the Palestinians and Israelis, an ongoing challenge and one that continues to threaten stability not just in the region, but beyond that as well as other region developments. I look forward to a healthy discussion. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.