Kerry condemns Syrian 'intransigence' over stalled talks

Photo: Kerry condemns Syrian 'intransigence' over stalled talks / Arabic region

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday condemned the Syrian regime's "intransigence" in stalled peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, and said a "recess" in the negotiations would be used by the U.S. and international community to plan next steps toward finding a diplomatic solution, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Kerry has said the White House is looking at options to respond to the breakdown in the talks and the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

"The talks have been hard, and...we are at a difficult moment, but we should all agree that the Assad regime's obstruction has made progress even tougher," Mr. Kerry said in a statement.

He said the international community must use the "recess" in the Geneva peace talks to "determine how best to use this time and its resumption to find a political solution to this horrific civil war."

In a thinly veiled reference to Russia, Mr. Kerry said: "We call on the regime's supporters to press the regime. In the end, they will bear responsibility if the regime continues with its intransigence in the talks and its brutal tactics on the ground."

He said the administration still believed the conflict will only be resolved through diplomacy.

The talks in Geneva were left in limbo Saturday after a top United Nations mediator declined to set a date for the next round of negotiations, citing his frustration with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking at a news conference at the close of the second round of talks that began on Monday over Syria's civil war, U.N. negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi said he was willing to hold another session. But the Algerian-born diplomat added that before he sets a date, all parties in the talks, particularly the Syrian government, needed to return home and reflect on whether they were really ready for a third round.

In a measure of the deadlock, Mr. Brahimi delivered a solemn mea culpa that appeared to acknowledge what many people involved in the negotiations say privately: That the Geneva talks have broken down irreparably. "I'm very, very sorry, and I apologize to the Syrian people," Mr. Brahimi said.

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