Kerry meets with Saudi leaders and Syrian opposition leader

Kerry also voiced support for Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Assi al-Jarba.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   June 27, 2014 at 2:05 PM   |   Comments

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JEDDAH , Saudi Arabia, June 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Saudi leaders in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Friday, seeking their support for an inclusive government in Iraq.

Kerry met with King Abdullah, aware of longstanding disdain of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as well as with Ahmad Assi al-Jarba, leader of the Shammar tribe, a moderate Syrian opposition group with branches in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

The visit came a day after President Barack Obama announced he sought a $500 million aid package for Pentagon training of "vetted elements" of Syrian militias.

Kerry said Jarba, with his influence and connections within Iraq and Syria, is capable of helping the United States repel the invading forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as well as influencing Sunni leaders in helping form a unified and representative government in Baghdad.

"President Jarba represents a tribe that reaches right into Iraq. He knows people there," Kerry said, adding Jarba's coalition "has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back" against ISIS.

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