World Bulletin / News Desk
WASHINGTON (AA) – Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday emphasized the need for cohesion within Syrian opposition ranks, during a phone call with opposition leader Khaled Khoja.
“The Secretary emphasized the importance of the Syrian opposition coming together to ensure that they can participate actively and meaningfully in the negotiations,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement, noting that Kerry also stressed the need for humanitarian access in the country.
The call followed a weekend meeting in Vienna that brought together countries vested in Syria’s now five-year conflict.
The aim of the talks is to make progress on a long-sought political transition.
Regional and world powers, the UN, EU and the Arab League agreed on an UN-mediated cease-fire in Syria with negotiations between the government and opposition groups to take place by the end of the year.
Kerry and Khoja discussed the importance of follow-up measures, "including a broad and inclusive gathering of the Syrian opposition, the beginning as soon as practicable of credible negotiations under UN auspices between the Syrian opposition and the regime, and steps to put in place a credible cease-fire," according to Kirby.
Kerry and Khoja were in agreement on a grave need to end suffering for the Syrian people “and see Syria emerge from the civil war whole, unified, pluralistic and led by a government free of [Bashar] Asad and responsive to the needs of the Syrian people,” said Kirby.