Kerry, Saudi foreign minister huddle amid execution fallout

Getty Images

Growing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran won’t effect the former’s commitment to ending the Syrian civil war, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister promised Thursday.

“Our relationship with Iran is separate from the relationship with everybody else in terms of the Syria cooperation group,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said during remarks with Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryFive decades of Democratic convention memories Three strategies to help Clinton build 'Team of Teams' A legacy on the line MORE. “Our objective is to work through the process that was started in Vienna in order to arrive at a peaceful settlement.”

Al-Jubeir and Kerry met Thursday in London to discuss ongoing issues in Syria and with Iran.

U.S. officials had expressed concern Saudi Arabia and Iran’s most recent dispute could boil over and derail efforts to end the Syrian civil war and fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

At issue is Saudi Arabia’s execution earlier this month of a prominent Shiite cleric. Iran, a Shiite power, was furious, and protestors there ransacked the Saudi Arabia embassy. Saudi Arabia, a Sunni power, responded by cutting diplomatic ties with Iran and rallying its regional allies to do the same.

On Thursday, Kerry said the United States supports its ally Saudi Arabia and urged diplomacy to end the dispute between Tehran and Riyadh.

“We want to try to see if there’s a way moving forward to resolve some of these problems without moving to greater conflict,” he said. “The last thing the region needs is more conflict, and I know the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agrees with that. But there are simple things they would like to see done that help to prevent that. And our job is to work together in order to try to get there.”

Kerry also said he’s conveyed similar messages to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“We always talk about non-interference, and we talk about peace and stability,” Kerry said. “And the key is to create the framework within which we’re able to work towards that.”