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John Kerry Calls Rex Tillerson Pick 'Thoughtful'

Image: John Kerry Calls Rex Tillerson Pick 'Thoughtful'

John Kerry (AP Photo)

By    |   Monday, 19 Dec 2016 10:42 AM

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry praised some of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees, including Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Kerry "praised as thoughtful" some of Trump's picks, including his Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary and Rex Tillerson, chosen to be Kerry's successor.

"There are a lot of things that get talked about in the course of a campaign. How many people have run for office saying I'm going to do this or that?" Kerry said. "Let's wait and see. I'm not going to get ahead of the decisions that they make.

"Because governing is very different when you're confronted with the realities. And I think one of the things people make a huge mistake in doing is ginning themselves up over guessing. I'm not going to guess."

Kerry negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, marking the first time in decades the countries had diplomatic relations, according to the Globe.

Trump called the deal "horrible" during his presidential campaign.

However, Kerry said the deal is working and "Iran's nuclear program, which was rushing towards a bomb and rushing towards conflict, as a result, is now a program from which you cannot make a nuclear bomb."

When asked about the civil war in Syria, Kerry said it still concerns him. He mentioned clashing with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and attempting to make a deal with Russia to cooperate on military operations.

"Unfortunately, we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation of that extremely hard to accomplish. But I believe in it, I think it can work, could have worked.

"The fact is we had an agreement in which Russia gave us a veto over their flights and over what they were doing in the area, had we set up a joint cooperative effort.

"We had people in our government who were bitterly opposed to doing that," he continued. "I regret that. I think that was a mistake. I think you'd have a different situation there conceivably now if we'd been able to do that."

Kerry criticized Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying they "are basically throwing everybody into the same pot and acting way outside of any decent standard of warfare . . . and challenging all of the norms of expected humanitarian behavior."

A cease-fire and humanitarian aid to the residents of the war-torn area are a must and "that's the only ultimate solution to the war.

"The issue is, are you going to be able to patch the country back together?" he added "I'm trying to line it up so the opposition will understand and embrace the idea of having those talks, even at this difficult moment."

The United States must be a leader in international diplomacy, Kerry said, and "people don't say 'where's China, where's Russia,' where's whatever country. But they do say, and expect, the United States of America to be there on these kinds of things. We are expected to lead."

Kerry, 73, plans to spend time with his grandchildren, but also remain engaged in politics.

"You can imagine, it was very hard to sit there during the presidential race and bite your tongue and lip and stay silent," he said. "As of Jan. 20, I don't have to do that anymore."

According to the Chicago Tribune, Kerry met the Saudi king and other royalty in Riyadh Sunday night, which would likely be his last diplomatic trip as secretary of state.

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Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry praised some of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees, including Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
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Monday, 19 Dec 2016 10:42 AM
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