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John Kerry seeks political solution in Syria

Monday, 17 February 2014 - 3:14pm IST | Agency: IANS

US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday appealed to international parties to work towards a political solution to the Syria conflict after the peace talks ended last weekend with no concrete progress.

Kerry made these remarks at a press conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa in Jakarta, the third stop of his regional trip, Xinhua reported.

"The international community needs to use this recess in the Geneva talks to determine how to use this time most effectively in order to bring about a political solution," Kerry said, accusing Syria's Bashar al-Assad government of not engaging in the discussions along the promised and required standard.

UN-Arab League joint mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized Saturday to the Syrian people after peace talks in Geneva to stop the three-year Syria civil conflict ended with little progress.

Kerry said Syria was the tragedy of the world, saying that "the number of refugees within Syria has gone up about 50 percent and the number of refugees out of Syria has gone up about 33 percent since October".

According to UN figures, more than 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict in Syria erupted in March 2011. About eight million have been driven from their homes in the war-torn country, with two million of them seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

"The talks are taking a recess at the moment," Kerry said, adding that "all of us need to remember there is no recess to the people of Syria who are suffering".

During the visit to Indonesia starting Saturday, Kerry co-chaired the Joint Commission Meeting under the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership to strengthen bilateral ties and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on South-South and a triangular cooperation and MoU on combating wildlife trafficking and promotion of wildlife conservation.

In Jakarta, Kerry also discussed climate change with Indonesian authorities and pushed southeast Asia's largest economy to set up combating efforts.

On Sunday afternoon, Kerry paid a courtesy call on the Secretary-General of the ASEAN, Le Luong Minh, to underline the importance of US engagement with ASEAN in the bloc's headquarters.

Kerry arrived in Indonesia after visiting South Korea and China and is scheduled to fly to Abu Dhabi Monday afternoon.

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