In his first comments about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline since becoming secretary of state, Kerry said he is waiting for a review begun by his predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and hopes to make a decision in the “near term.” The State Department has jurisdiction over the $7 billion pipeline because it crosses an international border.

Kerry, who met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Friday, praised Canada as a close ally and the largest energy supplier to the U.S. He declined to comment on the pipeline’s merits, but he said the review process begun under Clinton is well under way.

“I can guarantee you that it will be fair and transparent, accountable, and we hope that we will be able to be in a position to make an announcement in the near term,” he said.