World

US secretary of state hopeful at Syrian peace talks but says progress will be difficult

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry wait for a meeting with the foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. Kerry and other leaders are in Vienna to discuss solutions to the conflict in Syria. (Brendan Smailowski/Pool via AP)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry wait for a meeting with the foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. Kerry and other leaders are in Vienna to discuss solutions to the conflict in Syria. (Brendan Smailowski/Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov share a word prior to the start of the Syria talks at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. Kerry is acknowledging that progress will be difficult as he launches a marathon day of talks aimed at ending the Syrian War but is expressing some hope of headway. With 19 foreign ministers and other senior dignitaries attending, participants say the fact that the talks are happening despite deep divisions among key players are in themselves a sign of success. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov share a word prior to the start of the Syria talks at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. Kerry is acknowledging that progress will be difficult as he launches a marathon day of talks aimed at ending the Syrian War but is expressing some hope of headway. With 19 foreign ministers and other senior dignitaries attending, participants say the fact that the talks are happening despite deep divisions among key players are in themselves a sign of success. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, US Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, third right, meet with foreign ministers for talks on Syria at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. Kerry is acknowledging that progress will be difficult as he launches a marathon day of talks aimed at ending the Syrian War but is expressing some hope of headway. With 19 foreign ministers and other senior dignitaries attending, participants say the fact that the talks are happening despite deep divisions among key players are in themselves a sign of success. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)

    UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, US Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, third right, meet with foreign ministers for talks on Syria at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. Kerry is acknowledging that progress will be difficult as he launches a marathon day of talks aimed at ending the Syrian War but is expressing some hope of headway. With 19 foreign ministers and other senior dignitaries attending, participants say the fact that the talks are happening despite deep divisions among key players are in themselves a sign of success. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is acknowledging that progress will be difficult as he launches a marathon day of talks aimed at ending the Syrian War but is expressing some hope of headway.

With 19 foreign ministers and other senior dignitaries attending, participants say the fact that the talks are happening despite deep divisions among key players are in themselves a sign of success. But Kerry was cautious Friday ahead of a meeting with Sameh Hassan Shoukry, his Egyptian counterpart

"I am hopeful that we can find a way forward," he told reporters, adding: "It is very difficult."

A main focus is what to do about Syrian President Bashar Assad. Saudi Arabia, which is backed by the U.S., wants him quickly ousted, a demand opposed by Iran and Russia.