“The president believes that a mil-to-mil conversation is an important next step,” Mr. Kerry said, “and I think, hopefully, will take place very shortly.”
Shortly after Mr. Kerry spoke, the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter had spoken by telephone with Sergei K. Shoigu, the Russian minister of defense. It was Mr. Carter’s first discussion with his Russian counterpart since he became defense secretary seven months ago. The two men agreed to continue discussions on “mechanisms for deconfliction” in Syria, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Pentagon described it as “a constructive conversation.” The Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, said the two men had “talked about areas where the United States and Russia’s perspectives overlap, and areas of divergence.”
The initial purpose of the talks with Russia, Mr. Kerry said in London, will be to help “define some of the different options that are available to us as we consider next steps in Syria.”
In Moscow, the foreign ministry said it had always welcomed discussions with Washington about Syria. “We have never refused dialogue with the U.S., and we remain open to one now on all issues of mutual interest, including Syria,” Maria Zakharova, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, told the state-run RIA Novosti agency.
Mr. Kerry said that the Obama administration would not change its basic goals in Syria: The defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and a political solution for the conflict there.
But though the administration has long said that President Bashar al-Assad must go for there to be a durable solution to the Syria crisis, Mr. Kerry seemed on Friday to allow for the possibility that Mr. Assad might remain in power in the short term. Mr. Assad has had Russia’s backing throughout the conflict.
“Our focus remains on destroying ISIL and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria, which we believe cannot be achieved with the long-term presence of Assad,” Mr. Kerry said. “But we’re looking for ways in which to try to find a common ground. Clearly, if you’re going to have a political settlement, which we’ve always argued is the best and only way to resolve Syria, you need to have conversations with people, and you need to find a common ground.”
Read more: NY Times
- Megyn Kelly Off the Air After Attacking Jane Fonda
- Report: California Just Made it Legal for Illegal Immigrants to Vote
- Report: NFL Refuses to Air Pro-Veteran Ad During Super Bowl Asking Fans to Stand
- Pedophile Imprisoned for Sexually Abusing Young Boy is Found Dead in Jail
- Watch: CNN Does Its Job and Corrects Fake News Democrats
- Newsweek: ‘Hillary Clinton could still become president if Russia probe finds conspiracy evidence’
- Victory: Democrats Give in to GOP, Abandon the “Schumer Shutdown”
- ICE to Crack Down on California the Sanctuary State
- WHAT WOULD JESUS CARRY? Packing in Church
- Alert: High School Shooting, One Dead and Multiple Wounded
- Dear Idiot NYT Writer: Here are THREE Provable Instances of Americans Protecting Their Liberty with Guns
- James Carville Says 80% Of Democrats Are Politically Clueless
- MSNBC Anchor Joy Reid Claims Media Favorability for Republicans is Only Reason Democrats Look Bad — Yup
- Man Teases Bear With Food — Biggest Mistake of His Life
- NFL Star, Benjamin Watson, Delivers BRUTAL Truth Bombs About Blacks & Abortion
- ‘FCK DA POLICE’: #Ferguson Shooter’s Thug Life Proudly Displayed on Social Media