Kerry Offers Assurances as Syria Talks Draw Near

from As the Syrian opposition neared a decision on whether to attend an international peace conference next week, Secretary of State John Kerry offered a public assurance on Thursday that the Obama administration had not pulled back from its goal of establishing a transitional government that would not include President Bashar al-Assad. In a quickly arranged appearance before reporters, Mr. Kerry criticized “revisionism” and attempts to “muddy the waters” over the reasons the peace conference has been organized. “Any names put forward for leadership of Syria’s transition” at the conference, Mr. Kerry said, “must be agreed to by both the opposition and the regime.” “This means that any figure that is deemed unacceptable by either side — whether President Assad or a member of the opposition — cannot be a part of the future,” Mr. Kerry said. Mr. Kerry did not take any questions.

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