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Sec. Kerry: Syria 'Stonewalling' Peace Talks

09-07-2014
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U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry is accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of stonewalling in peace talks, saying he is not making a good faith effort to find a peaceful solution to end the country's nearly four-year civil war.

"Right now Bashar al-Assad has not engaged in the discussions along the promised and required standard that both Russia spoke up for and the regime spoke up for," Kerry told reporters during a joint press conference in Jakarta with Indonesian Foreign Minister Mary Natalegawa.

Kerry said Assad's negotiating team "refused to open up one moment of discussion" during last week's meetings in Geneva, which ended without any progress toward breaking the impasse.

Syria has also missed deadlines to dispose of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

The Obama administration is now calling on Russia to push its ally to negotiate with opposition leaders.

"Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they are, in fact, enabling Assad to double down," Kerry said.

On Monday, Kerry said while the talks "are taking a recess for the moment," everyone needs to remember "there is no recess for the people of Syria, who are suffering."

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized the Obama administration's efforts, calling them "disgraceful."

"The policy towards Syria has been an abysmal failure... particularly in regard to those photos that have now come out," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said. "There's 11,000 documented pictures of starvation, beating, torture, and murder of men, women, and children."

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