Kerry in search of Syrian common ground

Feb. 14, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he remains hopeful that Russia could agree to a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis.

The United Nations said as many as 70,000 people have died as a result of Syrian war that's moving closer to its second year.

Efforts to censure Damascus at the U.N. Security Council have been met with Russian opposition over what Moscow says is a lack of balance in draft resolutions.

Kerry said during meetings with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Washington that he was moving forward with a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis in mind.

"I still remain hopeful that there may be an equation where the Russians and the United States could, in fact, find more common ground than we have yet with respect to that," Kerry said during a news conference Wednesday.

Syrian opposition leaders said they may be willing to discuss some form of resolution to the crisis with the regime of President Bashar Assad. Support for the opposition has grown since last year, with Qatar this week handing its Syrian embassy to Assad's opponents.

Judeh said Jordan was working to address the needs of the estimated 360,000 Syrians who've fled to Jordan since the crisis began.

The humanitarian crisis, said Kerry, "underscores the importance of the global community holding President Assad accountable for what he and his regime are doing to the people of Syria and to the region."

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