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Kerry: 'No Military Solution to Syria'

2:55 PM, Jul 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Speaking at the United Nations in New York City, John Kerry flatly said, "There is no military solution to Syria." He was standing next to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon when he made the remarks.

"I was just, a few days ago, in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where I saw firsthand the extraordinary work of the United Nations, the experience they have brought to the table in an effort to relieve enormous levels of suffering, suffering that is growing by the day, which requires all of us to work even harder to try to bring about peace negotiations," Kerry said.

"There is no military solution to Syria. There is only a political solution, and that will require leadership in order to bring people to the table. Yesterday I had a conversation with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia. We remain committed to the effort to bring the parties to a Geneva 2 to implement Geneva 1, and we will try our hardest to make that happen as soon as is possible."

Kerry, as he said, was just in Jordan checking out Syrian refugee camps.

On other issues, Kerry added:

In the Great Lakes region, there is an opportunity for peace. This is an area that has been beleaguered by targeted, egregious violence, and the framework that has been put in place is an opportunity to be able to make a difference. Special Envoy, former Senator Russ Feingold will indeed cooperate extremely closely with Special Representative Mary Robinson and looks forward to going to work in order to implement the framework and bring about a sustainable solution to the absence of governance and to the problems of violence in that part of the world.

With respect to other areas, there are huge challenges, and we know. In South Sudan in Jonglei state, we need access, humanitarian access, and we will continue to press President Kiir and others in order to make that available.

And finally, the granddaddy of them all, I guess, the question of the possibility of peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Both leaders in the region, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, have made a courageous decision to try to return to final status talks. And it’s my hope that that will be able to happen as procedures are put in place by both countries in order to empower that.

So, Mr. Secretary General, it’s a privilege to be here in this institution which dedicates itself day-to-day to ending violence, to enforcing people’s prospects for peace, and to trying to live by a code of universal values that I think all of us are proud to be affiliated with. So thank you for your leadership, and thank you for welcoming me here today. Thank you. Thank you, sir.

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