After meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says the two countries are ready for a military solution against Islamic State if a political settlement in Syria is not possible. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday (January 23) that the United States and Turkey were prepared for a military solution in Syria if a political settlement was not possible. "We do know it would better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared ..., if that's not possible, to have a military solution to this operation and taking out Daesh," Biden said at a news conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Daesh is the pejorative Arabic acronym for Islamic State insurgents who hold parts of Syria. A U.S. official clarified that Biden was talking about a military solution to Islamic State, not Syria as a whole. Biden said he and Davutoglu also discussed how the two NATO allies could further support Sunni Arab rebel forces fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad. He said Washington recognized the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey was as much of a threat to Ankara as Islamic State, and that Ankara had to do whatever was needed to protect its people. Ankara has been fighting PKK militants in Turkey for decades. Violence has increased since a peace process broke down last year. The latest round of Syria peace talks are planned to begin on Monday (January 25) in Geneva but were at risk of being delayed partly because of a dispute over who will comprise the opposition delegation. Davutoglu said only the legitimate Syrian opposition should be involved in Syria peace negotiations. The Saudi-backed Syrian opposition ruled out even indirect negotiations unless Damascus took steps including a halt to Russian air strikes. And Saleh Muslim, co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish political grouping in Syria, said on Friday the Syria peace talks would fail if Syrian Kurds are not represented.