Skip to comments.Kerry meets Assad in Damascus
Posted on 01/08/2005 12:26:53 PM PST by Ooh-Ah
US Senator John Kerry said Saturday after talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad he is hopeful that strained US-Syrian relations can be improved. Assad in return assured Kerry he is interested in dialogue with Washington.
The former Democratic presidential candidate, who arrived in Damascus Friday, met for two hours with Assad before meeting separately with Foreign Minister Farouk a-Sharaa.
The talks centered on the situation in Iraq and how to prevent militants from entering Iraq through Syria.
"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 relationship between the US and Syria," Kerry told reporters after meeting with a-Sharaa.
"I can assure you that 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," Kerry said. "This is the moment of opportunity for the Middle East, for the US and for the world. I hope that we would seize that opportunity."
Kerry said there were "still concerns" that need to be addressed. "But I came away confident that the president and foreign minister are interested in moving in the right direction, and I am hopeful they will," he said.
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 without elaborating.
Kerry's visit comes amid strained US-Syrian relations, particularly over accusations by American and Iraqi interim government officials that Damascus is doing too little to stop border infiltration. Washington also accuses Syria of backing Palestinian militant groups opposed to Israel.
Syria denies both claims but says it can't fully control its long, porous border with Iraq and regards Palestinian militants as fighters opposed to Israel's illegal occupation of Arab territories.
Kerry said he and Assad also discussed issues of importance to the region and to both countries, including Iraq, security, Lebanon and weapons of mass destruction.
"We discussed the war on terror and a number of issues between our countries with respect to economics and economic reform and the future of our relationship," he said.
Later, as Kerry was about to get into his car outside the Foreign Ministry building, 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 told the teen.
"I wish you were the president," al-Nabulsi responded in English.
"Thank you very much. So do I. Thank you for this," Kerry said. He asked for the boy's address, and al-Nabulsi gave him his mobile number.
A few months ago, Washington imposed sanctions on Syria under an act accusing Damascus of seeking weapons of mass destruction, a charge Syria denies, and hosting Palestinian groups Washington deems terrorist.
In September, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and dismantle the Syrian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group.
More recently, US President George W. Bush has warned Syria and Iran against "meddling" in the internal affairs of Iraq.
Kerry arrived from Iraq, where he met US 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 US soldiers and three American contractors.
After all, Assad is such a trustworthy soul. The only thing that Assad and his ilk understand is a swift kick up the bracket.
Otherwise, if memory serves me right, that's sedition at best, treason at worst.
What's the excuse for not burning this loser this time (Nixon was a wuss)?
"Yeah, 13 year old boys in Syria all have cell phones."
The ones using them to detonate their TNT belts, do!
Haven't you heard, Ramsey Clark has joined the Saddam defense team, seriesly?
Maybe sKerry will testify at the trial about all of the Bush "lies" about Saddam, the dear man.
I'll cut Kerry some slack. He lost. He conceeded. We already knew that the terrorists were afraid of Bush and would rather have had Kerry as US President.
From our point of view, what could be better than Assad telling Kerry he wished the Dems had won? It pretty much proves our point.
skerry gets to meet one world leader.Wrong side I think.
"Im sorry my brother. Im sorry. I tried. Your monetary gifts were very kind. Do not worry, i will subvert at every chance while stil senator. Praise allah!"
"Yes, Mr. Kerry. We have explosive vests in many sizes. We will find just the right fit for you and your guest. You said her name is Ms. Fonda, this is correct, yes?"
Were his first words in Syria "Did Jen-giss Kahhhn ever come through here?"
Another perfectly good photo-op ruined by forgetting to have Tom Harkin tag along.
Based on the reported dialog, the buffoon (obvious to whom I refer) was diplomatically skewered!
More reason to stop embarrassing himself by going to Tahiti.
I can think of a whole bunch of people I like to retire to Tahiti. Pay the bill just as long as they stay away from foreign policy.
What's wrong with this picture?
Why, it's a beautiful, ornate bar and table setup that looks like maybe a bartender, bottles and glasses have been removed before the photographer was let in.
I hear the Nicobar Islands are nice, let's send them there.
kerrys treachery and treason against America with the Vn commies is precisely why he is attractive to the current enemies.
Or maybe he said, " I have never felt so much at home ", as Strobe Talbot reportedly said in a trip to the Soviet Union.