International partners back idea of new meeting in Geneva on Syria

Multiple international partners are behind the idea of a new meeting in Geneva by the supporters of the Syrian opposition, a senior State Department official said on Wednesday.

Secretary of State John Kerry attended a meeting on Wednesday in Amman, Jordan, with 11 foreign ministers in support of the Syrian opposition. A senior State Department official said the main progress of the meeting was the establishment of a solid international backing for the holding of a new meeting in Geneva by opposition supporters.

"The 11 foreign ministers there all strongly supported the holding of the Geneva meeting," the official said. "And they were very vocal in that support with the opposition. [Syrian National Council President] George Sabra acknowledged that there are advantages and said that they will need to explain it to the people inside the country. And he said we also look to continued support from our friends at the table, meaning the countries there, and he got strong affirmations that that support would continue. And you'll see that highlighted twice in the communique."

The official said that while the 11 countries meeting in Amman are doing different things in terms of support, the important thing is that the countries agree the best way to secure a negotiated political settlement is by supporting the opposition. The process of that settlement could begin during the new Geneva meeting.

The official also said it was not clear if the Geneva process would be a success in transitioning Syria away from the rule of Bashar al-Assad.