Kerry meets with Syria dissent memo authors

Kerry meets with Syria dissent memo authors
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Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryTrump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Kerry: ‘People are going to die' due to Trump's withdrawal from Paris climate deal Kerry tears into Trump for skipping visit to military cemetery: ‘Truculent child president’ MORE met with authors of a recent memo dissenting from the Obama administration's Syria policy, according to a spokesman.

He met with about 10 of the 51 authors for about half an hour on Tuesday morning for a "collegial discussion," State Department press secretary John Kirby told reporters. 

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"He thanked them for expressing their views, for using the dissent channel to do that; he made clear that he takes the dissent channel seriously, and he took their views seriously," Kirby said. 

The memo, which was issued through the Department's formal dissent channel but was leaked to the press last week, urged the administration to conduct military strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad instead of just the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

However, there were no indications a change in policy was forthcoming. 

Asked whether Kerry indicated he would incorporate their views into his thinking, Kirby said, "Well, there already is a policy." 

"The secretary also walked them through his own thought process with respect to this particular issue and the efforts that he's been expending on this particular issue and why those efforts were still so very important," Kirby added. 

Kirby said he would not discuss the content of the discussion but said the secretary asked a lot of questions, drew out more of their thoughts and came away feeling like he had a good opportunity to do that. 

"But I wouldn't begin to speculate one way or another what this conversation today or that message did last week in terms of altering, changing, any of the thinking going forward," he said. 

Kirby said the secretary is "very committed" to the current process of getting a transitional governing process in place, getting political talks between the Syrian regime and opposition rebels back on track, and getting a ceasefire in force nationwide in an enduring way, and getting humanitarian assistance to Syrians in need."

"That is still the approach we're pursuing, and everything you've seen out of Secretary Kerry supports that," he said.