Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh is warning of the growing humanitarian crisis in his own backyard as thousands of Syrian refugees escape the unrelenting bloodshed and violence unleashed by the Assad regime against rebel forces.
Judeh joined Andrea Mitchell Reports Wednesday afternoon immediately following his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department to pointedly characterize the crisis in Syria as a political civil war.
He told Mitchell: “What is happening on the ground in Syria today is a civil war. I know some people steer clear of calling it a civil war, but it is a civil war of a political nature. And the worst case scenario for all of us in the Middle East is for that to slide into an ethnic and sectarian civil war.”
“We have to put all our efforts in order to get this political solution kicking in and get the transition in place, and end this violence and restore dignity to the great Syrian people,” he added.
Still, there are few signs that Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad will voluntarily cede power after a 23-month uprising against his government that the U.N. estimates has killed nearly 70,000 people.
Judeh does point to glimmers of hope, faint as they may be, for a negotiated outcome with the Syrian regime. “We heard statements from Moaz al-Khatib, the head of the Syrian National Coalition, saying he’s willing to talk to representatives of the regime so long as they don’t have blood on their hands,” he said.
And, at their joint press conference Wednesday, Secretary Kerry said he’s currently working through diplomatic solutions, solutions to “address the question of President Assad’s calculation currently.”
“I believe there are additional things that can be done to change his current perception, ” he said. “But I’ve got a good sense of what I think we might propose.”