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White Press Office Feed

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Remarks With U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Before Their Meeting
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Carlton Gardens
London, United Kingdom
February 21, 2015

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAMMOND: Well, it’s a great pleasure to welcome John Kerry here this morning. We have got a series of important challenges to the rules-based international system which is so important both for the United States and the United Kingdom, and our cooperation, our alliance, is at the heart of the response to those challenges.

We’re going to take the opportunity this morning to talk about the challenge we face in Ukraine from Russia’s continued aggression, the unacceptable way in which the cease-fire agreement that was signed just 10 days ago has been so systematically breached. We’re going to talk about how we maintain European Union unity and U.S.-European alignment in response to those breaches of that agreement.

We’ll also be talking about the challenges that we face from Islamist extremism, particularly now the challenges that we’re seeing in Libya, where the extremists are getting a foothold and the UN special representative initiative is making some progress, but we urgently need to see a government of national unity emerging in Libya so that the international community can put its weight behind that government in order to squeeze the terrorists out of the ungoverned space that’s currently available to them in Libya.

We’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we’re going to have, I know, very constructive discussions today, and we will make sure that our alliance remains at the heart of the international community’s response to those challenges. John.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Philip, thank you very much. First of all, thank you for your welcome and thanks for being available to have this important discussion. I think the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States is really never more prominent than it is right now at this period where we are cooperating on so many different challenges all at the same time. We’re particularly appreciative for Britain’s home secretary’s presence at the White House summit on violent extremism just over the last few days.

And I have to say that I am personally encouraged by the unanimity of the response at that summit to steps that need to be taken over the course of the next months and years in order to counter violent extremism. But for the immediate moment, we face a series of very real, immediate challenges which we are determined to respond to. And we’re going to talk about each of them here today, and I will go on from here to discussions with respect to Iran. The P5+1 remains united on the subject of Iran. There is absolutely no divergence whatsoever in what we believe is necessary for Iran to prove that its nuclear program is going to be peaceful into the future.

But in the immediacy, Russia has engaged in an absolutely brazen and cynical process over these last days. There is no secret to any of us, not in this age of all kinds of visibility and technical means and satellites and the ability to watch what people are doing – we know to a certainty what Russia has been providing to the separatists, how Russia is involved with the separatists, and the ways in which Russia has cynically been willing to go to – even lead an effort at the UN, even simultaneously as it is continuing to do land grabbing in Ukraine. And what is happening with respect to Mariupol even now is just simply unacceptable.

So we are talking about additional sanctions, additional efforts. I’m confident that over the course of the next days, people are determined to make it clear we’re not going to play this game. We’re not going to sit there and be part of this kind of extraordinarily craven behavior at the expense of the sovereignty and integrity of a nation. This is behavior that is completely counter to everything that the global community has worked to achieve and to put in place ever since World War II. And I’m confident that the United Kingdom, the United States, and others are prepared to stand up to it.

With respect to ISIS/Daesh, there is a unanimity now that is even more determined than it was previously to put the people in the places that they need to be to get the job done, to commit the resources, and to continue to put the pressure on Daesh in Iraq and into Syria, and wherever they may be. And in Libya, there is an increasing determination – we had a meeting in Washington just the other day with the foreign minister of Egypt, with the EU high representative, with the secretary-general of the United Nations. I will have a discussion with Philip about that. And I’m confident that we’re going to have a unanimous approach over these next weeks that will begin to create an even more coordinated and effective response with respect to Libya itself.

And so there’s a great deal on the plate. We understand that. But one thing I think we know: We have the tools, we have the political will, we have the determination, and we are making gains in Iraq. Territory is increasingly beginning to come back into the hands of the Iraqi Government. The Iraqi military is now beginning to stand up with greater capacity. There is a fixed determination by every country in the region, every country in the region – even those with whom we have major disagreements – they are all standing in opposition to the brutality and to the extraordinary criminality of the Daesh enterprise wherever it is found. And I have genuine confidence in our ability to be able to continue to make that progress. So thank you all.