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Kerry demands aid be allowed into besieged Syrian towns

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the Syrian regime and opposition groups to play a full role in the peace talks in Geneva and demanded that humanitarian aid be allowed into besieged towns to help starving civilians.

The town of Madaya is just an hour's drive from Damascus, and yet in recent months people have been reduced to eating grass and leaves.

How have the regime and the militias responded? By planting landmines and erecting barbed wire to keep relief workers out.

– John Kerry, US Secretary of State

In televised statement , Kerry said "there is no military solution to the conflict", adding that a political solution to the Syrian crisis would undercut support for so-called Islamic State militants.

Negotiators from Syria's main opposition group met UN mediator Staffan de Mistura for the first time today, but have warned they may yet walk away from the Geneva talks unless the suffering of civilians in the five-year conflict is eased.

Earlier the peace process ran into trouble after Islamic State bombers killed more than 60 people near the country's holiest Shi'ite shrine.

The head of the Syrian government delegation said the blasts in Damascus, which the Interior Ministry blamed on a car bomb and two suicide bombers, merely confirmed the link between the opposition and terrorism - even though Islamic State has been excluded from the talks.

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Kerry: Paris atrocities are an 'attack on civility itself'

John Kerry speaking in Paris. Credit: Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken in Paris of the fight against IS and how it is a "battle between civilisation itself and barbarism".

Mr Kerry said it is an "assault on our collective sense of reason and purpose and an attack on civility itself."

Don't mistake what these attacks represent. This is not a clash of civilisations. These terrorists have declared war against all civilisations. They killed Yazidis because they are Yazidis. They kill Christians because they are Christians. They kill Shia because they are Shia.

They rape and torture and pillage and call it the will of God.

They are in fact psychopathic monsters and there is nothing civilised about them. This is not a case of one civilisation pitted against another. This is a battle between civilisation itself and barbarism.

– John Kerry

John Kerry returns to US after cycling accident

John Kerry has arrived back in the United States after breaking his leg in a cycling accident.

US Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: Reuters

The US Secretary of State landed at an airport in Boston on Monday evening before heading to Massachusetts General Hospital for further treatment.

Mr Kerry, who is 71, broke his right femur while cycling in south-eastern France on Sunday and spent a night in a Geneva hospital.

He tweeted: "Headed back to Boston. Look fwd to getting leg set & getting back to @StateDept! Meantime, work goes on. Big thanks for well-wishes."

Kerry was due to attend a meeting of international ministers in Paris today to discuss the fight against Islamic State.

Earlier it was confirmed that Kerry would participate by telephone in the summit.

John Kerry breaks leg in cycling accident

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has broken his leg in a cycling accident in France.

John Kerry riding his bike in Geneva. Credit: Reuters

Kerry broke his right femur after reportedly hitting a curb while cycling in Scionzer, south-eastern France on Sunday.

The 71-year-old was taken by helicopter from the scene and transferred to a hospital in Geneva, where it was decided he would remain overnight for further observation.

He has cancelled visits to Spain and France, where he was due to attend a conference to discuss the battle against Islamic State.

Kerry was in "great spirits" despite the accident, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, adding that the Secretary of State was expected to make a full recovery.

John Kerry to meet Vladimir Putin in Sochi for talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Tuesday for talks on Ukraine, Syria and Iran.

Vladimir Putin (L) and John Kerry pictured during Kerry's last visit to Russia in 2013. Credit: Reuters

Mr Kerry's trip to Russia - his first since 2013 - is aimed at maintaining "direct lines of communication" with the Kremlin and to "ensure US views are clearly conveyed", the US State Department said.

The visit comes amid a period of heightened tension between the US and Russia over the latter's actions in the Ukraine conflict.

A diplomatic source was quoted by Russian media as saying that Kerry's visit "is very symbolic".

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Kerry extends Switzerland stay amid troubled Iran talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry Credit: PA Wire

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has cancelled plans to return to the USA to continue Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland amid signs of troubled negotiations.

He was due to return to the USA to attend an event honoring his late colleague Edward Kennedy, the dedication of the Kennedy Institute in Boston with the late senator's family.

But the State department said that "given the ongoing nuclear negotiations in Switzerland, the secretary regrets he will not be able to share this special time with them in person."

His decision to stay comes as the talks appear to have hit obstacles ahead of a March 31 target for the outline of a final deal to be negotiated by the end of June.

Kerry: US will have to negotiate with Syria's Assad 'in the end

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said America will "in the end" have to negotiate with Syria's President Assad, according to CBS News.

Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: PA

Kerry said the US is willing to negotiate within the context of the Geneva process, which calls for negotiated political transition in Syria.

America and "other countries" are exploring ways to reignite the diplomatic process in Syria, he added.

But Kerry admitted that getting Assad to negotiate may require increased pressure on him.

US 'has no intelligence' on Nemtsov shooting suspects

Secretary of State John Kerry said the US had no intelligence on who was behind the shooting of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

US Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: REUTERS/Gary Cameron

"The bottom line is we hope there will be a thorough, transparent, real investigation, not just of who actually fired the shots, but who, if anyone, may have ordered or instructed this or been behind this," he told ABC News' This Week.

Kerry: Ukraine conflict 'will not end through military force'

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that he and his European counterparts are agreed that the conflict in eastern Ukraine "will not end through military force".

Us Secretary of State John Kerry in Munich. Credit: RTV

He emphasised that there was "no split" between US and European policy towards Ukraine.

"We will stand together in support of Ukraine and in defence of the common understanding that international borders ... cannot be changed by force in Europe or anywhere else." Mr Kerry added.

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