JOHN KERRY’S REMARKS AT GENEVA PRESS CONFERENCE

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The press conference of March 2nd  in Geneva in which Secretary John Kerry provided a broad outline with great clarity of some of the most pressing foreign affairs and national security issues facing this administration. There is so much substance to this press briefing in Geneva that we decided it deserves to be highlighted and its text posted to provide to our readers a chance to not only read it in full but also to comment, if they wish, on Secretary Kerry’s outline of our objectives and perspective.

What is clear is that the international landscape presents extraordinary challenges and difficulties that require not only wisdom and real resources by America but also the full participation by our allies and friends in the difficult task of dealing effectively with the many crises that clearly face the international community. In the coming days we will post some of our analysis of these and others topics in our earlier post on looking at American strategy in 2015 and beyond.   


“I met this morning with Foreign Minister Lavrov. And we spent a fair amount of time discussing Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, and Iran. I reiterated the urgency of Russia’s leaders and the separatists that they back implementing the full measure of the commitments under the Minsk agreements and to implement them everywhere, including in Debaltseve, outside Mariupol, and in other key strategic areas. And I underscored this morning that if that does not happen, if there continue to be these broad swaths of noncompliance, or there continues to be a cherry-picking as to where heavy equipment will be moved back from without knowing where it’s been moved to, or if the OSCE is not able to adequately be able to gain the access necessary, then there would be inevitably further consequences that will place added strain on Russia’s already troubled economy. Now, obviously, Ukraine is just one of those issues, as I mentioned, that we focused on. And it’s only one of those issues, frankly, on which the United States and Russia are focused.”

“We spoke at length about steps that might be able to be taken in order to try to see if there is a potential of common ground. And we agreed that there is no military solution; we agreed there is a need for a political solution; and we agreed on the need of those countries who have been supporting people in this endeavor, in this conflict, to be able to search yet again to see whether or not there is a path either to Geneva 1 or to some hybrid or some means of ending the violence. And one of the things that drives that interest, that common interest, is the reality of Daesh, the reality of what is happening to Syria as a result of the presence of Daesh there and its use of Syria as a base for spreading evil to other places.”

“We continue to believe, all the members of the P5+1, that the best way to deal with the questions surrounding this nuclear program is to find a comprehensive deal, but not a deal that comes at any cost, not a deal just for the purpose of a deal; a deal that meets the test of providing the answers and the guarantees that are needed in order to know that the four pathways to a nuclear bomb have been closed off. And that is the task. And we hope it is possible to get there, but there is not guarantee.”

“Sanctions alone are not going to provide that solution. What needs to happen is that Iran needs to provide a verifiable set of commitments that its program is in fact peaceful. And that average people and experts alike looking at that verifiable set of commitments have confidence that they are sustainable, that they are real, and that they will provide the answers and guarantees well into the future.

Any deal must close every potential pathway that Iran has towards fissile material, whether it’s uranium, plutonium, or a covert path. The fact is only a good, comprehensive deal in the end can actually check off all those boxes.”

“Now, I want to be clear about two things. Right now, no deal exists, no partial deal exists. And unless Iran is able to make the difficult decisions that will be required, there won’t be a deal. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is the standard by which negotiation is taking place, any anyone who tells you otherwise is simply misinformed.” 

“Now, we are concerned by reports that suggest selective details of the ongoing negotiations will be discussed publicly in the coming days. I want to say clearly that doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get a good deal. Israel’s security is absolutely at the forefront of all of our minds, but frankly, so is the security of all the other countries in the region, so is our security in the United States. And we are very clear that as we negotiate with Iran, if we are able to reach the kind of deal that we’re hoping for, then it would have to be considered in its entirety and measured against alternatives.”

“President Obama has said this repeatedly: We will not accept a bad deal. We have said no deal is better than a bad deal, because a bad deal could actually make things less secure and more dangerous. Any deal that we could possibly agree to would make the international community, especially Israel, safer than it is today. That’s our standard. So our team is working very hard to close remaining gaps, to reach a deal that ensures Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively and verifiably peaceful, and we have made some progress, but we still have a long way to go and the clock is ticking.”


To read the full text of this press conference from Geneva on March 2nd visit https://cipnationalsecurity.wordpress.com/resources/full-text-pieces/ 

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