U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on key backers of President Bashar al-Assad to end the three-year war in Syria.
A Syrian woman after voting in the presidential election (photo by Islamic Republic News Agency)
Speaking during an unannounced visit to Beirut on June 4, Kerry called on Iran, Russia, and the Shi'ite militant group Hizballah to "engage in a legitimate effort to bring this war to an end."
Kerry also announced new U.S. aid - $290 million for United Nations agencies working on the Syrian refugee issue throughout the region.
He dismissed the June 3 Syrian presidential election, which is widely expected to deliver a sweeping victory to Assad, as "a great big zero."
On Lebanon, Kerry said a political stalemate that has left the country without a president since last month was "deeply troubling," adding that parliamentarians should vote to fill the vacancy quickly.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP
Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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