Kerry praises Arab League communique on Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed appreciation for an Arab League communique issued on Sunday, encouraging the Syrian opposition to negotiate peace in Geneva, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Kerry made the remarks on Monday after a meeting with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Kerry said the U.S. appreciates Saudi Arabia's leadership in supporting the Syrian Opposition Coalition and its commitment to achieving a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

"A negotiated political settlement as laid out in the Geneva communique, we believe is the best way to end the bloodshed, respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, to counter the violent extremist groups that we both agree are growing in their threat to all of us and which must be stopped, and also to recognize the full challenge of the humanitarian disaster that we all see," Kerry said.

Kerry said it was imperative that a Geneva II conference is held as soon as possible to allow the people of Syria to install a transitional government.

Kerry also praised a communique from the Arab League on Sunday that urged the Syrian opposition to attend the Geneva II conference.

"We appreciate the strong Arab League communique that was issued last night, encouraging the Syrian Opposition Coalition to go to Geneva to negotiate," Kerry said. "And I want to underscore the importance that we, and all of our regional partners, feel about continuing our very close coordination on our common objectives in Syria. There is no difference about our mutually agreed upon objective in Syria."

Kerry said a new transitional government body must be installed in Syria and that current President Bashar al-Assad must be removed from office.

"We do not believe that there is a way or see how that war can end or that suffering will be ended as long as Assad is there," Kerry said.