Britain’s new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has met US Secretary of State John Kerry in London to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the war in Yemen, and the rise of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
During a joint press conference with Kerry on Tuesday, Johnson called on Russia to use its “unique ability” to stop the Syrian conflict by convincing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end the fighting, which has ravaged the country some five-years.
Johnson said the current Syrian situation is “dire” and said the Arab country faces a “terrible humanitarian catastrophe”.
Kerry, for his part, said the US and Russia have an understanding of needs in Syria and called for more UK presence on the world stage.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.
A ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect in Syria on February 27, but it does not apply to the Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups.
During the press conference Johnson also refused to apologize for using xenophobic and racist language in the past and insulting world leaders.
The 52-year-old former mayor of London once described Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.” He had also stated that US President Barack Obama disliked the UK because he was part-Kenyan.
Johnson is a controversial figure in British politics and journalism. He has been praised as an entertaining, humorous, and popular figure.
However, his critics have accused him of cronyism, elitism, laziness and dishonesty, and using xenophobic and racist language.