Remarks by Secretary John Kerry at Press Conference in Paris, France (Excerpts)

October 14, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good evening, everybody. Thanks for your patience. This has been a very productive couple of days, and I’m glad to have an opportunity to be able to catch up on the discussions that we’ve had, both with Foreign Minister Fabius as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

First, I want to say a special thank you to my friend, Laurent Fabius, not only for hosting us but for the very important partnership that he is providing and France is providing at a very eventful and consequential time for both of our countries. So today, it is clear that France and America are really facing up to and shouldering responsibilities together on challenge after challenge: from the fight against ISIL, to the challenges of Libya, to work on Iran’s nuclear program as partners in the P5+1, to the challenges of Syria, Ebola, and of course, Ukraine.

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QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the national security advisor on Sunday said that Turkey agreed to allow coalition use of its military bases, and yet Turkish officials have denied that such an agreement was reached. And also Turkish military has begun striking PKK targets, which one could argue weakens the joint fight against Daesh. So can you clarify what understanding you have with the Turks regards to their role in the fight against Daesh? And what is their policy on this? And how tangible is it, regarding your understanding of it?

And on Iran, observers are increasingly skeptical that a comprehensive agreement can be reached by the deadline, and some are talking about an extension being needed. Now, is such an extension even possible? What would the terms of that be? And can you make the case for it to skeptical members of Congress? And how – I mean, how effective would a second year of dialogue with Iran be given such a deficit of trust between the two countries? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’m going to reduce all of your second part of your question to a fairly short answer. I’m leaving here tomorrow morning to go to Vienna to meet with Foreign Minister of Iran, Foreign Minister Zarif. I’m glad that all the pundits and speculators are doubting whether or not it can be reached. They know more than I do. (Laughter.) I can’t tell you. As I stand here tonight, I don’t have that answer and I’m not about to predict. I don’t believe it’s out of reach. But we have some tough issues to resolve, and I’m not going to prognosticate. We need to continue to have some serious discussions, which we will, and we’ll see where we are. And I just think I’ll let the negotiation process speak for itself at this point in time. I don’t think anything is served by a lot of speculation at this point in time.

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