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Kerry: Diplomat death a 'contradiction'

April 7, 2013 at 11:16 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday the death of a U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan was "a confrontation with ... everything our country stands for."

Five Americans -- including 25-year-old U.S. diplomat Anne Smedinghoff -- died Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in Zabul province as an American convey passed by, The New York Times reported. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Speaking from Istanbul, Turkey, Kerry described Smedinghoff's death as an "extraordinary harsh contradiction."

She was a "25-year-old woman with all of the future ahead of her, believing in the possibilities of diplomacy, of changing people's lives, of making a difference, having an impact, who was taking knowledge in books to deliver them to a school."

"So this is a huge challenge for us. It is a confrontation with modernity, with possibilities, and everything that our country stands for, everything we stand for. ..." he added.

Kerry us currently in Turkey on a six-nation trip to Europe and East Asia. He spoke Sunday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Today's Zaman reported.

They discussed the rapprochement between Israel and Turkey brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Israel two weeks ago.

"We would like to see this [Turkish-Israeli] relationship that is important to stability in the Middle East, critical to the peace process itself, we would like to see this relationship get back on track in its full measure," Kerry said Sunday during a joint press conference with Davutoglu.

"It is not for the U.S. to be setting conditions or terms with respect to what the prime minister's schedule ought to be or what the requirements of Turkey are with respect to that process," he added.

Meanwhile, Kerry said he and Davutoglu agreed to hold a meeting of the "Friends of Syria Group" as soon as possible, Turkey's Andalou Agency reported.

During the press conference Davutoglu noted that March has been the single deadliest month in the past two years in Syria, with nearly 7,000 people killed.

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