US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Vienna for talks on the Syrian crisis, with Iran participating for the first time. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) US Secretary of state John Kerry arrived in Vienna on Thursday (October 29) for international talks on the Syrian conflict, in which arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia will participate for the first time. Around a dozen participants are expected. Neither Syria's main political opposition body nor representatives of the armed opposition have been invited to the talks on the country's war, an opposition politician and a rebel leader said. The Syrian government in Damascus has meanwhile yet to issue any official comment on the meeting. Russia and Iran both support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other gulf Arab nations insist he cannot play any long-term role in Syria's future. In a speech on Wednesday (October 28), Kerry made a case for wider U.S. engagement in the Middle East, despite growing American energy independence, saying that the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and between Israel and the Palestinians can all threaten U.S. interests and inflame anti-U.S. sentiment at home and abroad. He also suggested that the United States currently faces the best opportunity in years to end the Syrian civil war, in which more than 200,000 people have died and millions have been displaced inside the country and forced to flee abroad as refugees.