Kerry’s Mid-East speech will ‘ensure chaos lasts after Obama admin’ – Israeli minister

The outgoing US secretary of state is to remark on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday. Israel’s security minister called the intention “pathetic” and accused John Kerry of “trying to make chaos” that will last past his tenure.

The US State Department announced on Tuesday night that Kerry will deliver remarks on the state of the Middle East peace process and why America abstained during a UN Security Council vote on a resolution criticizing Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Delivered less than a month before President Barack Obama steps down, the speech is expected to be the last work from his administration on the decades-old conflict. After Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in 2003, he made Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority and pushed for direct negotiations. However, they didn’t last the nine months they were expected to, collapsing in April 2014 without any tangible result. In June of that year, Israel launched a 50-day military campaign in Gaza.

Commenting on the upcoming speech, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said it was “pathetic to present a [peace] plan at the last minute when [Kerry] hasn't managed in changing anything for his entire time in office.”

“It's unfortunate that the Obama Administration, that erred for years in the Middle East, is trying to make sure that the chaos will last far past its tenure,” Erdan said late on Tuesday night, as cited by the Jerusalem Post.

“Kerry's speech on parameters right before the end of his tenure will make sure that the Palestinians won't agree to any sort of negotiations [with Israel] in the coming years and will [put] off chances of advancing peace.”

The spat comes days after the US abstained at a UN Security Council vote, allowing other members pass a resolution criticizing Israel for the continued construction of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

Washington’s failure to veto the draft, as it routinely did with other UNSC votes targeting Israel over the decades, angered the Israeli government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Obama administration of orchestrating the passage of the damning resolution.

The US denied the accusation, saying there was “nothing pre-cooked” about it.

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U.S. Admits Lack of International Support to Attack Syria

Washington, Oct 17 (Prensa Latina) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, admitted that the United States and the United Kingdom lack international support to carry out any military action against Syria, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday.

Kerry and Johnson met on Sunday in London, 24 hours alter a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, which brought together the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran, among others, and where no agreements on Syria were adopted.

During the London talks, the two politicians insisted that 'all options are on the table' regarding Syria, but apparently, they ruled out a unilateral military action by the United States.

Johnson admitted that there is no doubt that these 'calls to military options' are extremely difficult and 'there is no political support in most European capitals for that kind of solution,' referring to an eventual military action by Washington.

For his part, President Barack Obama does not seem in favor of a U.S. military intervention, despite recent proposals from his closest advisors on national security to bomb landing strips used by Syria's air force and other military facilities.

During the meeting in London, Kerry and Johnson defended the proposal to create a no-fly zone in Syria, and threatened Damascus and Moscow with more sanctions.

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Putin and Kerry Discuss Situation in Syria and Ukraine

Moscow, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State, John Kerry held talks behind closed doors on the situation in Ukraine and Syria with the hope of achieving progress in the negotiations, according to media reports.

In a meeting to which the media had brief access, Putin and Kerry expressed desire to achieve a breakthrough in the Russian-American exchange and cooperation in pursuit of a solution to the most pressing conflicts such as Syria and Donbass.

The results of the talks, which lasted more than three hours, will be released on Friday through a press conference to be jointly held by the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US Secretary of State.

According to official versions, Kerry has requested that talks with the Russian leader take place only in the presence of negotiators from both countries. Shortly before the start, the head of US diplomacy called for a separate meeting with Putin, according to the footage of last night's meeting at the Kremlin.

After greetings and a welcome, Putin emphasized that they would be mutually seeking a solution to the conflicts that "we consider important and solvable". The conversation with President Barack Obama, stated Putin, confirms that we are striving towards progress in cooperation and results.

Kerry, in turn, welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Russian president, the second time so far this year, and his fourth visit to Moscow since the beginning of the thawing in relations since May 2015.

The Undersecretary of State stated his belief that progress would be measured by the issue of Syria and expressed Obama's conviction that the United States and Russia could do much to benefit the world.

He said that he and Lavrov had a lot of work ahead, referring to the bilateral meeting scheduled on Friday.

Lavrov and adviser Vladislav Surkov, in charge of the Ukrainian issue in bilateral exchanges, participated in the talks alongside the Russian president. Kerry was accompanied by the Secretary for Eurasian issues, Victoria Nulland, special envoy for the talks with Kiev.

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Kerry Announces Plans for Immediate High-Level Talks with Venezuela

Kerry and Rodriguez agreed on the talks during a bilateral meeting Tuesday on the sidelines of an Organization of American States’s General Assembly meeting, which will run through Wednesday in the Dominican capital.

SANTO DOMINGO – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday announced plans for immediate high-level talks involving himself, Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez and the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, Thomas Shannon, who will be the first to travel to Caracas.

Kerry and Rodriguez agreed on the talks during a bilateral meeting Tuesday on the sidelines of an Organization of American States’s General Assembly meeting, which will run through Wednesday in the Dominican capital.

Kerry and Rodriguez met Tuesday in Santo Domingo and gave speeches on the first day of the gathering, which has revolved around the issue of what role the region’s countries should play in Venezuela’s political and social crisis.

The U.S. secretary of state had angered Rodriguez prior to their meeting by calling in his speech for Venezuela to release political prisoners and respect human rights.

Kerry said he expressed during his meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart that their countries had become stuck in longstanding rhetorical battles and stressed the need to reach an agreement that satisfies Venezuelans’ needs, respects that nation’s constitution and the constitutional process.

Asked about his call Tuesday for the Venezuelan government to hold a “timely” recall referendum, Kerry said the United States was not taking sides and simply supports the constitutional process.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, for his part, said Tuesday he supported talks at the highest level with the United States, albeit “without impositions,” and was ready to resume relations at the “level of ambassadors.”

Venezuela’s opposition is seeking to recall the socialist Maduro amid escalating tensions in the South American nation, which is in a severe economic crisis and facing sky-high inflation and food, medicine and electricity shortages.

Maduro’s opponents want to force a recall referendum before Jan. 10, 2017, because in that case, if the president were to be voted out, a snap election would be held that could bring the opposition to power shortly afterward.

But if the referendum is held after that date, then even if Maduro loses he would be replaced by his vice president, Aristobulo Isturiz, who would serve out the remaining two years of his term.

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Lavrov, Kerry: Syria meeting sees progress, agrees to turn truce into real ceasefire

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have stated that there is progress in Syria peace talks after a meeting in Vienna, also saying that the powers there agreed to turn the Syria truce into a real ceasefire.

“I see the confirmation of the entire basis that our work is based on as the main result of today’s International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting. That is the joint statement of the ISSG and the resolutions of the UN Security Council numbers 2218, 2254 and 2268,” Lavrov said.

@PeterGOliver_RT outlines 3 key points on Ceasefire, humanitarian aid, political process.

I’d like to stress that we’ve made progress in all directions of our work, namely the cessation of hostilities, the expansion of the humanitarian assistance and the political process,” he added.

John Kerry also announced that the ISSG sees progress in the situation, stating, however, that specific actions should be taken to make real changes.

“We moved the ball forward. [But] to make all of this more than words on a page, some determined actions will have to be taken to make it happen. No one can be remotely satisfied with the situation in Syria,” Kerry said.

@PeterGOliver_RT we have a framework for peace. The biggest challenge we have now is the put in place of the plan. Says some sides shouldn't have veto

Lavrov said that the level of violence on the ground in Syria has gone down significantly, while humanitarian access has improved in many parts of the country.

As for the political process, Lavrov noted that there had been another round of talks concerning the political transition, giving the grounds for another meeting.

@PeterGOliver_RT # disagrees with that no political solution while in power. govt best and only option in fight against terrorism

Kerry outlined the areas that the group will focus its actions in the near future, particularly intensifying efforts to make warring parties stop all violence and to ensure that the opposition disassociate themselves from Islamic State and Al Nusra extremists. The agenda also includes expanding the delivery of humanitarian aid and facilitating agreements between various sides in Syria for the mutual release of detainees.

The secretary of state also noted that the peace process was endangered by “bad actors,” or parties who pledge support for the cessation of hostilities and at the same time ally themselves with violent factions when they choose to.

The peace is endangered by irresponsible actions of those who seek a different outcome [to the peace process]. They’re actors on both sides,” Kerry said.

“The stakes are too high and the conflict is too long to succumb to bad actors or avoid consequences to sides who have [a separate] agenda.”

He said the members of the ISSG agreed that if a party to the cessation of hostilities does not comply, it can be reported to the monitoring group and be excluded from the peace process.

In order to bring an end to the conflict in Syria, those involved in the conflict, with conflicting agendas, will have to prioritize peace,” Kerry added.

The powers in Vienna, however, failed to agree on a new date for peace talks between the warring sides in Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy to the country, said in a joint press conference with Kerry and Lavrov.

“Intra-Syria talks are still in progress,” De Mistura said. “The issue is still waiting for some type of concrete outcome of this meeting, but we cannot wait too long, we want to keep the momentum.” He added that peace talks “will become credible when there is credible cessation of hostilities and credible humanitarian aid” delivery.

Tuesday’s talks authorized air drops to improve the humanitarian situation and outlined the locations where aid deliveries are to be made.

The meeting of the ISSG group lasted for over five hours. Previously, ISSG members met in Munich, Germany, in February. At that time, the various sides agreed to work for a reduction of violence in the region, which is supposed to turn into a full ceasefire within a week’s time. The truce, however, does not include organizations which are considered terrorists by the UN Security Council.

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US, Russia work to hold fragile Syria cease-fire together

PARIS (AP) — The United States and Russia worked Monday to hold together a revived truce in Syria, calling on both Syria's government and opposition groups to restrain themselves even as a five-day cease-fire in the northern city of Aleppo was set to expire.

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