Baku. 23 January. REPORT.AZ/ U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Gulf Arab countries in Saudi Arabia for talks aimed at pushing the Syrian peace process forward and calming their concern about the international agreement over Iran's nuclear program. Report informs citing the foreign media, Kerry began a stop in Riyadh by meeting with representatives of the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
He is also due to have talks with Riad Hijab, chair of the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee, which was formed in Saudi Arabia last month, amid uncertainty about whether Syrian peace talks slated to start next week in Geneva will take place.
The Saudi-backed Syrian opposition ruled out even indirect negotiations with Damascus before preconditions are met, including a halt to Russian air strikes, contradicting Kerry's hopes for talks to start next week.
The peace efforts are complicated by the worsening relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back different sides in the Syrian conflict, and concern the Arab states have about how Tehran will benefit from implementation of a nuclear deal agreed with Western powers last year.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran worsened this month after Riyadh's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric triggered an attack by Iranian protesters on its Tehran embassy, leading the kingdom to cut diplomatic ties.