Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kerry, Baird: Keystone, Hockey, Mais Pas De Francais from New Secretary of State

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kerry, Baird: Keystone, Hockey, Mais Pas De Francais from New Secretary of State

Article excerpt

Kerry, Baird talk Keystone, hockey and Iran

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WASHINGTON - John Kerry welcomed Canada's foreign affairs minister on Friday to the U.S. State Department, where TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline was a key topic of discussion despite the new secretary of state remaining publicly non-committal on the controversial project.

"I hope we will be able to be in a position to make an announcement in the near term," Kerry, a fierce climate hawk during his 28 years in the U.S. Senate, told a joint news conference with John Baird in the State Department's ornate Treaty Room.

"I don't want to pin down exactly when, but I assure you, in the near term," he said. "We have a legitimate process that is underway and I intend to honour that."

Kerry also noted that Canada is the largest foreign supplier of energy for the United States, something "many people in America are not aware of."

The State Department, currently reviewing TransCanada's latest application for the pipeline, will decide the fate of Keystone XL because it crosses an international border.

The $7 billion project, which would carry Alberta oilsands bitumen to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, has become a flashpoint for U.S. environmentalists, who view it as a symbol of "dirty oil."

"We had a good discussion with regard to Keystone," Baird said.

"We spoke about making a decision based on science and based on facts. Obviously when it comes to the environment, I think we have like-minded objectives."

Baird is the first foreign minister to sit down with Kerry since the longtime Massachusetts lawmaker replaced Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

Kerry spoke warmly of the Canada-U.S. relationship.

"We have a history and a heritage of our people that is unbelievably connected," he said. "We have the same entrepreneurial spirit. We have the same core beliefs that everybody ought to be able to find their place in life to do better."

But despite knowing some French, Kerry declined to answer a question en francais.

"Not today, I gotta refresh myself," he said with a smile. …

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