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Kerry: US sees some problems with Syrian opposition pact

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John Kerry. Source: Wikipedia

John Kerry. Source: Wikipedia

The United States warned Friday that some problems remain to be resolved in a pact between Syrian opposition forces if UN-backed peace talks are to resume next week.

Secretary of State John Kerry said he would talk with his Saudi counterpart about how to fix problems in the deal reached Thursday by Syrian rebel groups meeting in Riyadh.

“There are some questions and obviously a couple of, in our judgement, kinks to be worked out,” he said.

“And I’m confident that they’re going to be worked out so I’ll be having conversations with them during the course of today.”

Asked whether a planned December 18 international meeting on the Syria conflict would go ahead in New York, Kerry said: “We’ll have to see.

“I have to hear what the answers are to some questions that we have today, then we’ll let you know.”

Kerry said that he had spoken to Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir since the deal was signed.

Speaking to reporters he did not outline what his reservations with the deal were, but it is important to Washington that Russia is comfortable with the agreement.

Moscow is a close ally of President Bashar al-Assad but also, with Washington, a key sponsor of the UN-led effort to negotiate a ceasefire in Syria’s civil war.

Russia had said it would confirm whether the next week’s planned meeting of the 17 nations of the International Syrian Support Group could go ahead after the rebel talks.

But the opposition groups, while agreeing a joint negotiating team for future ceasefire talks, also demanded Assad step down immediately, a potential sticking point.

Kerry has said he hopes to travel to Moscow next week to discuss the Syrian crisis with President Vladimir Putin, but the visit has not been officially confirmed.


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