SECRETARY TILLERSON: Yeah, I thought just a little bit of background on why we’re going to Paris. We’re going obviously for this meeting that’s being hosted by the French on the chemical weapons accord – what can we do to better prohibit the use of chemical weapons, hold people accountable for the use of chemical weapons. And so we’ll have an exchange of views. Obviously, we know chemical weapons are being used in Syria. We’ve seen it. We know they’ve been used by the North Koreans. Exchange of information and mechanisms we’d have to bring this to a stop. So that’s what we’ll be spending the session tomorrow on.
I condemn in the strongest terms last night’s heinous attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. Such violence has no place here or anywhere in the world. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
The United States strongly condemns yesterday’s attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. We mourn all those who lost their lives in the attack, whether Afghans or citizens of other countries. We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and wish for the speedy recovery of those wounded.
As expressed by Secretary Tillerson in calls to his Turkish and Russian counterparts yesterday, the United States is very concerned about the situation in northwest Syria, especially the plight of innocent civilians who are now faced with an escalation in fighting.
MODERATOR: Okay, thank you, sir. Good afternoon, and thanks, everyone, for joining us for today’s background call previewing Secretary Tillerson’s trip to Europe. We’re joined by [Senior State Department Official], who will be referred to as Senior State Department Official. As a reminder, today’s call is on background and it will be embargoed until the conclusion of the call. And with that, I’d be happy to turn it over to our senior State Department official for some opening remarks, and then we’ll take some questions.
MODERATOR: Good morning. Thank you, sir. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us for today’s background call on U.S. policy on Syria, and specifically the implications of the Secretary’s speech that took place in California earlier this week.
We’re joined today by [Senior State Department Official], who will be referred to as Senior State Department Official. As a reminder, today’s call is on background and will be embargoed until the conclusion of the call. With that, I’m happy to turn it over to our senior State Department official for some brief opening remarks, and then we’ll open it up for your questions. If you could please try to keep your questions to one a time so we can get around to as many journalists as possible. Thank you.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon and Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security and Political Affairs Mark Gwozdecky co-chaired the eleventh U.S.-Canada High-Level Policy Review Group on January 19, in Washington, D.C. The Review Group, which last met in Ottawa on June 1, 2017, discussed a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues on which the United States and Canada cooperate.
Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will travel to New York on January 19 to participate in a ministerial-level, United Nations Security Council meeting on “Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development.”
On January 21, he will arrive in London, where he will meet with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill to discuss our cooperation on issues of mutual concern around the world, including Iran, Syria, Libya, the DPRK and Ukraine.
Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivered remarks at a UN Security Council briefing on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.