Alastair Grant, Associated Press
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media at the British Foreign Office in London, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013.

LONDON — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria's moderate opposition officials are still weighing whether to enter negotiations with President Bashar Assad to create a new government and end the nation's bloody civil war.

Kerry spoke after meeting Tuesday with opposition leader Ahmad al-Jarba, and said he was hopeful that negotiations could begin as early as next month.

But Kerry said al-Jarba's coalition would decide within the week whether it was ready to meet with Assad's government on ways to move forward after 2 1/2 years of war that has killed more than 100,000.

Both Kerry and al-Jarba were in London meeting with diplomats from 11 Western and Mideast nations who are trying to reach a settlement.