Skip to comments.John Kerry Meets With Syrian President: to help prevent militants from moving into Iraq.
Posted on 01/08/2005 9:19:18 AM PST by rface
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry met Saturday with Syria's president and said he was hopeful that strained U.S.-Syrian relations could be improved, provided Washington seized "a moment of opportunity" currently available in the Middle East.
The United States has accused Syria of doing too little to stop insurgents from infiltrating into Iraq to attack coalition forces. Washington also has imposed sanctions on Damascus, accusing it of seeking weapons of mass destruction and hosting Palestinian groups Washington deems to be terrorist organizations.
Syria denies the accusations but says it cannot fully control its long, porous border with Iraq.
Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., met for two hours with President Bashar Assad and then with Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa, with both meetings centering on Iraq and how to prevent militants from moving from Syria into neighboring Iraq.
"I think we found a great deal of areas of mutual interest, some common concerns and some possibilities for initiatives that could be taken in the future to strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Syria," Kerry told reporters after meeting with al-Sharaa.
"I leave here with a sense that we can improve our relationship. There are significant possibilities, particularly with the elections in Iraq and the elections in the West Bank ... This is the moment of opportunity for the Middle East, for the U.S. and for the world. I hope that we would seize that opportunity."
Assad stressed "the importance of dialogue between the two sides over all issues under discussion, especially those of common interest," Syria's official news agency reported.
Kerry said he and Assad discussed Iraq, security, Lebanon and weapons of mass destruction.
In September, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and dismantle the Syrian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group. Syria, with some 14,000 troops stationed in Lebanon, is the main power broker in that country.
More recently, President Bush has warned Syria and Iran against "meddling" in the internal affairs of Iraq. Washington and Baghdad both have said that key support for the insurgency in Iraq was coming from a half brother of Saddam Hussein and Baath Party leaders based in Syria.
Kerry, who is on a two-week tour of the Middle East, arrived Friday from Iraq, where he met U.S. troops in the volatile northern city of Mosul, the scene of a suicide bombing last month on a military base that killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. soldiers and three American contractors.
Kerry, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be in the West Bank for Sunday's Palestinian election and is expected to visit a polling place.
After Kerry left the Foreign Ministry on Saturday, 13-year-old Mustafa al-Nabulsi approached him with a drawing of the senator as a soldier in his Vietnam days.
"You have made me much more important than I was, though. You made me a general," Kerry said.
"I wish you were the president," al-Nabulsi said.
"Thank you very much. So do I," Kerry said.
Well, heck, he's gotta make these obligatory side trips to get the American taxpayer to pay for what is probably just another of his many vacations. The man is a pampered elitist who falls back exhausted for a week for every single day of "work."
He needs to go back to windsurfing and STFU!
It reads like a joke because it's about Democrat joke John Kerry.
If the USA had bombed Damascus and killed only Kerry it would have been the most successful USA air-strikes against worldwide terrorism to-date.
yeah, although if I were to pick a region to vacation in on taxpayer money, it wouldnt be Syria but Dubai :)
Since when does a Senator conduct unilateral foreign policy?
This A-hole is repeating his actions after VietNam when he went to Paris to "negotiate" with the North VietNamese while the war was going on!
John Kerry needs to be expelled with prejudice from the United States Senate. Just as he was from the military.
I really wish this loser would have just quit the senate.
Boy I sure miss Tony Snow on Sunday
This is sKerry's dream vacation...LOL
yeah he is a sympathizer but he is a loafer/lazy/loser/poser...
Syria isnt an ideal vacation spot ya know?
Kerry got just what he deserved: a wanted poster from a frickin street urchin.
I am beyond furious. He's usurping the President's job right under our nose. We have to do something to stop this traitor. Get the e-mails going to his office (I know he's not there ever, but maybe his staff will relay the message). Let's bombard him with mail and phone calls to let him know he is not getting away with it this time. Where is John O'Neil?
why would we want good relations with syria?
they're against our interests in the middle east. period.
I'd always wondered what happened to John's head. Do you know something about it?
I'm sure it's just a side trip!
Every time I hear the Skerry one speak, I have flash backs to the movie "Trading Places". He reminds me of the Elite snobs in the scene at the country club, right before Dan Ackroyd walks in.
Besides, it's cold up in Mass and D.C. these days.
its not exactly warm in Syria right now either :)
I am surprised Terezzza doesn't have a villa in Cuba. Perfect place for them to vaction.