Washington dubs Syria no-fly zone plans as ‘pre-mature’
BRUSSELS / VIENNA
US Secretary of State John Kerry listens to speeches in the plenary hall during the opening session of the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council at the Basel Exhibition Center, Dec. 4. AP PhotoWashington has asserted it is “premature” to say they are close to making a decision on the no-fly zone idea pushed by Ankara, contradicting the top Turkish diplomat’s words that signaled progress in narrowing the differences of views on the matter.
“It is premature to suggest at this moment of time that we are close to making a decision or moving forward with any form of a safe zone or a buffer zone,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Brussels on Dec. 3, on the sidelines of a meeting of 60 foreign ministers representing the coalition fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq.
“But we are continuing our discussions with our Turkish allies in order to have conversations about how we can best bolster security in the region and deal with the problem of Syria,” he added.
Ankara has long sought a no-fly zone or secure area along the Syria-Turkish border and it has been the subject of frequent high-level talks between Turkish and U.S. officials.
A few hours before Kerry’s statements, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had said a considerable convergence between the two countries has emerged during recent talks.
“I can say, particularly with the U.S., there is a convergence in our approach toward ISIL, the training and equipment program [for the Syrian opposition] and the no-fly zone,” Çavuşoğlu told a group of journalists during the same meeting Dec. 3.
Mirroring Kerry’s remarks contradicting Çavuşoğlu, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice also used the word “premature” to define the level of talks on a no fly-zone.
“We think the establishment of a no-fly zone or safe zone at this point is at best premature and would be a major investment of resources that would be something frankly of a diversion from the primary task at hand,” Rice said during a CEO meeting organized by Wall Street Journal on Dec. 2.