US Denies Kerry Favoured to Arm Syrian Rebels - The New Indian Express

US Denies Kerry Favoured to Arm Syrian Rebels

Published: 04th February 2014 11:40 AM

Last Updated: 04th February 2014 11:40 AM

The US has said that it wants a negotiated political settlement to resolve the crisis in Syria and denied that Secretary of State John Kerry had called for a change of strategy and to arm opposition rebels.

"We believe that it is absolutely necessary to press for a negotiated political resolution to this conflict. There is no other alternative," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.

President Barack Obama has spoken about this issue on a number of occasions and his view that the US should not be putting American troops on the ground in Syria and that his administration needs to pursue a policy that presses both sides on the basis of the Geneva Communique to resolve this conflict through a negotiated settlement, he noted.

"There is no other path ultimately for Syria that does not include or is not driven by a negotiated political settlement," Carney said, responding to questions about the claims being made by the two US Senators - John McCain and Lindsey Graham - that Kerry had favored arming the Syrian rebels so as to defeat Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Both the State Department and the White House denied that Kerry ever said that.

"It's a characterization, that reflects how Senator Graham and Senator McCain view our policy, not how Secretary Kerry views it," Carney said.

"It's no secret that some members of Congress support arming the rebels, but at no point during Kerry's meeting in Munich with members did he raise a lethal assistance for the opposition," he said.

This is a case of members projecting what they want to hear and not stating the facts of what was discussed, he said.

The United States, he added, has a variety of forms of assistance that it provides to the Syrian people, to the opposition, and to the military coalition.

"But the policy that we have in place is the policy that we're pursuing. There is not an alternative here to resolving this conflict that does not come through a negotiated settlement," he said.

At the State Department, Kerry's spokesperson Jen Psaki asserted that the Secretary of State in his meeting with the Congressional members never advocated arming the rebels.

"At no point did he, during the meeting – did Secretary raise lethal assistance for the opposition. At no point did he state what I think was quoted, that the process has failed," she said, adding that she was present at the meeting.

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