Kerry hints at stronger US role ahead of meeting with Syrian rebels

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Kerry said it was up to the White House to announce any change in policy.

"They ought to make any announcements with respect to any stepped-up efforts, but I will say that those efforts have been very much front and center in our discussions in the last week in Washington," he said. "And I’m not sure what the schedule is, but I do believe that it’s important for us to try to continue to put the pressure on President Assad and to try to change his calculation. And we’ll see what is forthcoming on that in the days ahead."

Kerry also used his latest trip to the Middle East – his third since taking office – to press the case for restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“I think it's fair to say that we made progress, that we were pleased with the substance of the discussion and agreed, each of us, to do some homework,” Kerry said before meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. “And we're going to do our homework over the course of the next weeks, and today we're going to continue some of that discussion with a view to seeing how we can really pull all of the pieces together and make some progress here. And I want to thank the prime minister for his good-faith efforts here. It's been serious, it's been focused, and I would characterize it as very productive.”

After the G-8 summit Kerry will continue on to Japan, South Korea and China, where North Korea will be a main topic of conversation.