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Saudi Iranian tension won't affect Syria process

Both countries committed to Geneva talks, says John Kerry

WASHINGTON (AVRUPA TIMES) The top U.S. diplomat said Thursday that Saudi Arabian and Iranian foreign ministers assured him that tension between the two Gulf nations would not affect the Syrian peace process. 


Speaking during a press briefing, Secretary of State John Kerry said negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition were still scheduled to begin Jan. 25 in Geneva. 


"All indications are, in both my conversations with Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia and my conversation with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif -- they both assured us that differences between them at this moment, expressed very publicly, will not interfere with their willingness to work cooperatively in an effort to resolve Syria," Kerry said. 


He also noted that the U.S. remains extremely focused on diplomatic efforts in Syria to "de-escalate the conflict, to achieve a political transition,” isolate militants and “to enable the safe return of refugees".


Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in the peace talks, whereas Saudi Arabia supports rebel groups fighting to oust him.


Kerry also said that Zarif made it clear that Iran "intended to complete their obligations” of a nuclear deal it signed with world powers, including the U.S.


"As implementation day approaches, obviously it's our task to continue to ensure that Iran lives up to the commitments," the secretary said.


There is no certain date set for the implementation of the deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for some economic sanctions relief.

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