Kerry calls for conference on Syria transition

MATTHEW LEE
October 14, 2013
FILE - This Monday, July 15, 2013, file image taken from leaked video obtained by Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, purports to show a fireball from an explosion at a weapons depot set off by rocket attacks that struck government-held districts in the central Syrian city of Homs. Never in history has a war been covered in the way that Syria’s civil war has: A constant stream of hundreds of thousands of videos instantaneously bringing all the viciousness, brutality and gore instantaneously and vividly to millions of viewers across the globe via YouTube and social media. The raw footage from Syria's battlefields comes in a perpetual stream _ a vicious civil war brought instantaneously to millions of viewers across the globe via YouTube and social media.(AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

LONDON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.N-Arab League envoy for Syria said Monday that an international conference to set up a Syrian transitional government must be organized urgently and held as soon as possible.

"There has to be a transition government, there has to be a new governing entity in Syria in order to permit the possibility of peace," Kerry said. He said it was imperative to get the so-called "Geneva II" conference organized by a mid-November target the United Nations has set.

Kerry and envoy Lakdhar Brahimi spoke to reporters after meeting at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Britain.

"There can be, there will be, a political solution if everyone gets together and works for it," Brahimi said. "Very soon we have to set a precise date."

"We believe it is urgent to set a date, convene the conference and work towards a new Syria," Kerry said.

He said that Syrian President Bashar Assad "has lost the legitimacy to be able to be a cohesive force that could bring people together."

Brahimi said he'll travel to the Middle East this week to see representatives of all sides to try to plan and set a specific date for the meeting.

Kerry was in London on the last stop of a an extended two-week overseas trip that has also taken him to Japan, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Afghanistan.