NPR News Interview with Secretary of State John Kerry In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, John Kerry discusses Russian attacks on US-backed rebels in Syria, unrest in Israel and the new commitment to U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan
NPR logo NPR News Interview with Secretary of State John Kerry

NPR News Interview with Secretary of State John Kerry

FULL INTERVIEW AIRS ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, AUDIO AVAILABLE AT APPROXIMATELY 8:00 AM (ET) AT NPR.ORG

October 15, 2015; Washington, D.C. –

In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, the U.S. Secretary of State discusses Russian attacks on US-backed rebels in Syria, violence in Israel and the new commitment to U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan.

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When asked if the United States and Russia can cooperate militarily in Syria: "Well we are now having that discussion with the Russians right now. I talked to my counterpart today, to Sergey Lavrov, we raised the issue of this deconfliction process. We're very near coming to an agreement on exactly how that will work, and my hope is that it will lead to a broader set of understandings about where the targeting ought to be and what is truly helpful and what is not.

He continued: "That's the immediate, that's the short term, de minimus deconfliction but it is possible, possible I say, that if you have adequate cooperation on the early steps of this horrible word deconfliction, then it may be possible to actually engage in a broader conversation about how ISIL is going to be defeated, and who will bear what responsibility."

When asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin's goals in Syria: "...Putin does not have a simple, easy track here. This is not a situation where he's just moved in and taken over and everybody say 'oh wow he's doing something we couldn't'. No he's not. He is not going to be able to stop the war by being there. And it could be ISIL that actually winds up gaining in that process. ...And that would be absurd, it would be a farce, and I think President Putin understands that."

About the current unrest in Israel: "There's no excuse for the violence. No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand, and President Abbas has been committed to nonviolence. He needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly. And he needs to not engage in some of the incitement that his voice has sometimes been heard to encourage. So that has to stop.

Asked if it bothers the President that troops will remain in Afghanistan after he leaves office: "I've seen in the President a guy who really, you know cares about getting as much done as he can, and turning over the world and the presidency in the best shape possible. He obviously hoped that there would have been greater progress. I think he's, you know, but I don't think he's feeling it's a matter of blame, I think it's, you know, he's gonna have made enormous progress, but it won't be completed before the next President. That is a fact."

The conversation airs in full on Friday October 16, on Morning Edition (find local stations and broadcast times at npr.org/stations).

All excerpts from the interview must be credited to "NPR News." Broadcast outlets may use up to sixty (60) consecutive seconds of audio from the interview and must include on-screen chyron to "NPR News" with NPR Logo.

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