Paul Johnson, Senior Press Officer
(Washington, D.C.) — Secretary of State John Kerry outlined the Obama administration’s strategy for Syria today in a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace before leaving the U.S. for a trip that includes a stop in Vienna to continue talks seeking a diplomatic solution to the country’s civil war.
Kerry said that, having chosen the Institute as the venue for the speech, “it shouldn’t be a surprise that peace is a major theme of my remarks.” USIP, an independent institute established 30 years ago by Congress to increase the nation’s capacity to prevent and end violent conflict, “is truly hitting its stride as a force for reconciliation and conflict resolution,” he said.
In introducing Kerry, USIP President Nancy Lindborg said, “The Syrian conflict has become one of the most pressing tragedies of our time,” with 12 million Syrians driven from their homes and an estimated 250,000 killed as a result of the fighting.
“With the conflict growing more bloody and complex by the day, the global community must urgently work together to provide desperately needed civilian protection and achieve a meaningful and lasting peace,” Lindborg said.
Kerry, in concluding his 71-minute speech, said it’s impossible to know whether the political transition the U.S. seeks in Syria can be achieved or how long it may take to defeat the self-styled Islamic State extremist group. Regardless, he said, “We have a responsibility to do everything we can, for as long as we must, to fulfill the high aspiration enshrined in the very name of this institution; we have a duty to peace.”
USIP is the country's global conflict management center, created by Congress to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent international conflict through nonviolent means.