Kerry hopes for 'clarity' as Syrian peace talks delayed

Despite a delay, Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBiden soars as leader of the free world The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds MORE appeared optimistic Monday about the peace talks aimed at ending the civil war in Syria.

In the next 24 to 48 hours, Kerry and other diplomats will find “clarity" about the path forward for the negotiations, he said.


“You don’t want to start and have it sort of crumble on day [one] — you just don’t want to do that,” he told reporters while traveling in Laos. “So it’s worth taking a day or two or three or whatever. I’m all for that.”

The talks, which were originally set to begin on Monday, have been pushed back until Friday, United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura said later on Monday morning.

Diplomats have bickered for days about who to invite to participate in the talks, given the fractured parties on all sides.

“There are a lot of factions here, folks, and when — lot of different interests at play too,” Kerry said.

“We have created a framework,” he added. “Syrians have the ability to decide the future of Syria, with countries that are involved and engaged backing one group or another on the sidelines, advising and pushing and cajoling and encouraging.”

Invitations to negotiating groups would be sent out on Tuesday, de Mistura said.

However, the negotiations will only be “proximity” talks that could stretch out for six months, he added, suggesting a protracted series of discussions.

The various groups “are not in an agreement yet, but we are all feeling that … the time has come to at least try hard to produce an outcome.”

The peace talks, which are set to talk place in Geneva, have been the prime diplomatic avenue for international negotiators trying to end the spiraling chaos in Syria. More than 250,000 people have died in the four years of violence, and regions of the country are now split up between Islamic extremists, rebel groups and the fledgling government of Bashar Assad.