John Kerry in Davos, January 24, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Friday where he discussed US engagement in the Middle East focusing on the Iran nuclear issue, the Syrian civil war and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Kerry said that he was perplexed by claims that America was disengaging from the region saying that "nothing could be further from the truth."
On Iran's nuclear program Kerry said that there was a reason the world has placed sanctions on Iran and that is why the nuclear deal reached with Iran "was not grounded in trusting but in testing."
He said that the difficult part on the nuclear issue begins with the implementation of the nuclear deal. Iran now has the opportunity to prove wrong doubters who believe that it is pursuing nuclear weapons, Kerry said.
On the ongoing civil war in Syria, Kerry described the human tragedy there as "unimaginable" underling that Syrian President Bashar Assad could not be part of any future political arrangement. Kerry said Assad has lost all legitimacy, "has become the world's single biggest magnet for jihad and terror" and that the opposition would never stop fighting while he rules.
Kerry said that the US remained committed to the Israeli Palestinian peace process but that at end of the day it is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement on how to end conflict.
The US Secretary of State met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier on Friday at the conference in a closed door meeting.
Kerry said in his speech that if the peace talks fail the Palestinians risk loosing their last chance for an independent state. He said for Israel failure would mean that demographics would not allow Israel to remain a democratic and Jewish state.
Kerry stressed that the continuation of the status-quo between the Israelis and Palestinians was not possible and that failure of the talks would empower extremists.