EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 26, 2013

At Kerry's request, skeptical Syrian opposition will attend Rome talks

BERLIN (AP) — Skeptical Syrian opposition leaders agreed Monday to attend an international conference in Rome after first threatening to boycott the session that was to be the centerpiece of Secretary of State John Kerry’s first overseas mission in his new job.

Opposition leaders had protested what they see as inaction by other nations in the face of violence from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Kerry not only made a public plea at a joint news conference Monday with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, he also called Moaz Khatib, leader of the Syrian Opposition Council, “to encourage him to come to Rome,” a senior U.S. official said.

Spokesman Walid al-Bunni said the council had decided to send a delegation to Rome after all.

Al-Bunni told Al-Arabiya TV the decision was made based on guarantees al-Khatib heard from western diplomats that the conference would be different and that the opposition would receive real commitments. “We will go and we will see if the promises are different this time,” he said.

After speaking with Khatib, Kerry flew to Berlin from London, the first stop of his first trip as secretary of state — a hectic nine-country dash through Europe and the Middle East.

Kerry had also dispatched his top Syrian envoy to Cairo in hopes of convincing opposition leaders that their participation is critical to addressing questions from potential donors and securing additional aid from the United States and Europe.

“We are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind, wondering where the support is, if it is coming,” Kerry told reporters in London after meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron and Hague. “We are not going to let the Syrian opposition not have its ability to have its voice properly heard in this process.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Senate Confirms McDonald As VA Secretary Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One Two Huge Fires Burning in Northern California Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Arts, Humanities Awards Handed Out at WH Former Va. Governor's Corruption Trial Begins
Latest World News
Raw: Aftermath, Artillery Shells Hit Donetsk Muslims Celebrate Eid El-Fitr Around the World Gaza Official: at Least 100 Killed Tuesday Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Today in History for July 29th Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Today in History for July 28th Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 27th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv
Photos of the Week