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Seeking an End to Syria's Devastation


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Vienna's Schwechat airport, Austria, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. Kerry has arrived for talks on ending the Syrian war with other key nations, including bitter regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Secretary of State Kerry has arrived in Vienna for a series of bilateral and multi-lateral discussions about Syria on October 29th and 30th.

In the face of the growing horrors of the Syrian conflict that has so far led to the deaths of more than 250,000 people, the displacement of millions, and the rise of the terrorist group Daesh, a fresh effort is being made toward finding a political solution to the crisis.

On October 23, Secretary of State John Kerry met in Vienna with counterparts from Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. After the meeting, Secretary Kerry said all had arrived with a commitment to try to find new ideas on how to break the impasse and end the Syrian conflict.

They agreed, he said, that the effort be based on the principles of the 2012 Geneva Communique, which, among other measures, calls for a political transition in Syria. Secretary Kerry described such a transition as “one that will stop the killing and lay the groundwork for a government that the Syrian people deserve and support and can arrive at with their input. ... It is ultimately about how we get to the table where the Syrians themselves are deciding the future of Syria.”

Secretary of State Kerry emphasized that a political transition in Syria requires an international approach, and noted that the ministers agreed to the aim of reconvening, and to broaden discussion with a wider range of interested parties. With this in mind, the United States, represented by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, participated in a Paris meeting about Syria on October 27, hosted by the French government with representatives from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, Germany, the United States, Italy and Britain. Now Secretary of State Kerry has arrived in Vienna for a series of bilateral and multi-lateral discussions about Syria on October 29th and 30th.

“All concerned governments have a responsibility to contribute to ending the Syrian conflict through a transition that will unite the country and enable it to live in peace. That is the goal sought by the United States of America,” said Secretary of State Kerry. “That is the purpose of the inclusive diplomatic process that we are pursuing, and that is the urgent wish of the vast majority of the Syrian people.”

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