Kerry says Syria unlike Libya, rules out military action

(AhramOnline) – US Secretary of State John Kerry ruled out a military solution for Syria, saying its conflict does not resemble Libya’s while calling for a settlement based on last year’s Geneva peace plan.

“This is not Libya. It is very different in many, many ways,” Kerry told reporters in Kuwait City in response to a question on why there had been no military intervention in Syria as during Libya’s 2011 armed uprising.

Kerry made the remarks after holding talks with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah. He said that unlike Libya, foreign forces including the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah had intervened in Syria, while Russia was supplying the regime with arms.

Kerry warned the fighting in Syria could lead to the destruction of the state, the collapse of the army and a total breakdown of a sectarian strife for many years to come.

“That becomes far more dangerous for all the region because it will empower extremists… and the potential increase of terrorism,” which is not acceptable to the civilised world. “There is no military solution here… We need to reach out for a diplomatic solution” through negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva, said Kerry.

Such talks would seek to implement the “Geneva 1 communique which requires a transition government in a neutral environment,” he added, referring to the 2012 peace plan backed by Russia.

The United Nations said Tuesday that Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are to meet next week in Brunei to discuss how to move forward towards a new international peace conference for Syria. Kerry also called on Iran to pull its troops out of Syria and for Hezbollah to return to Lebanon.

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Divided Syria ‘recipe for destruction’: Jordan king

(AhramOnline) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned in an interview against allowing Syria to fracture along sectarian lines, saying a Sunni-Shiite polarisation “will have devastating consequences”.

“A divided Syria means an open-ended conflict that would undermine the stability of the region and the future of its people for generations to come,” the king, whose country is home to around 550,000 Syrian refugees, told London-based Asharq Alawsat Arabic daily.

“Dividing Syria is not in anyone’s interest and tampering with Syria’s unity is a recipe for destruction,” he said.

The Jordanian monarch also warned against exporting the conflict to the wider region, saying that “fanning the fire of sectarianism in the Arab and Islamic worlds will have devastating consequences for generations to come and on the entire world.”

“The sum of all fears is that the Syrian conflict could expand into a fitna (Arabic for sedition) between the region’s Sunnis and Shiites.”

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Saudi Arabia cannot be quiet on Iran, Hezbollah role, says FM Prince Saud Al Faisal

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Gulf News) –  Saudi Arabia regards the involvement of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria’s civil war as dangerous and believes the rebels must be offered military aid to defend themselves, the kingdom’s foreign minister said.

Speaking at a news conference with US Secretary John Kerry in Jeddah, Prince Saud Al Faisal added that Saudi Arabia “cannot be silent” about Iranian intervention and called for a resolution to ban arms flows to the Syrian government.

“The kingdom calls for issuing an unequivocal international resolution to halt the provision of arms to the Syrian regime and states the illegitimacy of the regime,” Prince Saud said.

The discussions include Washington’s plans for providing direct military support to General Salim Idriss of the Supreme Military Council, the military wing of Syria’s main civilian opposition group.

Prince Saud said the world’s top oil exporter “cannot be silent” at the intervention of Iran and Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict and renewed calls to arm the opposition and bar weapons sales to President Bashar Al Assad.

“The most dangerous development is the foreign participation, represented by Hezbollah and other militias supported by the forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has become more actively involved in the Syrian crisis in recent months, expanding the flow of weapons to the rebels to include anti-aircraft missiles.

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