Obama administration disputes Republicans' account of US policy on Syria

By REUTERS
February 4, 2014 06:28
1 minute read.

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Monday defended its policy on Syria and disputed media reports that Secretary of State John Kerry had told a group of US lawmakers the current US policy on Syria is not working.

Kerry met with the bipartisan group on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, Germany, during the weekend.

Included in the group were senior Republican lawmakers John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who favor a more muscular US policy to stop the bloodshed in Syria, and Democrats Chris Murphy and Sheldon Whitehouse.

McCain and Graham told reporters that Kerry said Syrian President Bashar Assad was failing to uphold a promise to give up chemical weapons and peace talks in Geneva to put in place a Syrian transitional government were not succeeding, according to The Daily Beast.

Citing Graham's account, the report said Kerry acknowledged that the chemical weapons plan is being slow rolled, the Russians continue to supply arms and that the US strategy is going to have to change.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who was present during the meeting with the senators in Munich, said on Monday that Kerry did not say US policy on Syria was failing.

"At no point did he, during the meeting, did Secretary Kerry raise lethal assistance for the opposition," Psaki told her daily briefing. "At no point did he state what, I think, was quoted, that the process has failed."


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