Kerry meets Saudi King to Discuss Syria before Vienna Talks
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US Secretary of State John Kerry met Saudi Arabia's King Salman in Jeddah on Sunday to discuss the fragile truce in Syria, before broader talks with Russia, Iran and other countries in Vienna on Tuesday.
Kerry has said he hopes to strengthen a "cessation of hostilities" agreement between Syrian government and opposition, which has been undermined by fighting in some areas, and to increase humanitarian aid deliveries to besieged areas, Reuters reported.
On Friday, he said the meetings with the king and the Saudi interior and defense ministers - the two most senior princes - would try "to make sure that we can get this cessation better footed and, frankly, better observed and implemented throughout the country."
The United States, Saudi Arabia and some other Western and Persian Gulf states plus Turkey back militants fighting to remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
However, diplomats in the Persian Gulf say Saudi Arabia sees US support for the opposition groups as inadequate, and fears that Washington may abandon their shared stance that Assad must immediately leave power as part of any negotiated political deal.
Kerry and his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir have previously characterized disagreements over Syria as being limited to "tactical differences" not objectives.
On Tuesday the United States and Russia will co-chair a meeting of the International Syria Support Group, which includes Arab League and European Union countries as well as Turkey, Iran and China.