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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Remarks With Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba During Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
King Abdulaziz International Airport
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
June 27, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: It's my pleasure to meet with President Jarba. And obviously in light of what has happened in Iraq, we have even more to talk about in terms of the moderate opposition in Syria, which has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against ISIL's presence. They have been, not just in Syria but also in Iraq. President Jarba represents a tribe that reaches right into Iraq. He knows the people there, and his point of view and the Syrian opposition's will be very important going forward.

So we're also at a moment of increased effort with the opposition, so I look forward to a chance to speak with President Jarba and to share some thoughts.

MR. JARBA: (In Arabic.)

MR. JARBA: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I'm delighted to meet with you, Mr. Secretary, here to discuss several important issues, especially in light of the critical times in Syria and Iraq alike. There's great confusion in the region, and now the war against terrorism has to be even stronger than before.

The situation in Iraq is slightly different than it is in Syria. The policies of Prime Minister Iraqi – Nouri Maliki, after eight years in power, have resulted in greater division. Now the situation is very grave and there are sectarian militias ruling the country, so we have to have greater efforts on the part of the U.S. and regional powers to address the situation in Iraq, especially also on the part of its neighbors, and Saudi Arabia in particular. The borders between Iraq and Syria are now practically open, and Daesh, or ISIL, has made – has just occupied Albu Kamal, and it's launching a very strong, severe war in Deir al-Zour.

And in spite of the opposition, we still need greater assistance. And President Obama just announced that the U.S. will be giving the moderate opposition in Syria another half billion dollars, and this is very important. We hope for greater cooperation with the U.S., and General Abdul Ilah al Bashir is ready to cooperate with the U.S. side.

Once again, we welcome you and we welcome the (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Shukran. Thank you, all.

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