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.
It is a violation to try and negotiate with foreign countries where one had no authority. Unfortunately Kerry has never been held accountable for such violations.
The Kerry guy has a penchant for meeting with those who are our enemies, doesn't he? Or am I just imagining things?
I agree, but realistically how could the Bush administration put a stop to it?
How expectant of him, for when he finally decides to go to work to earn his wages, he does so on foreign ground.
On offence is meant toward the poster of this thread. However, I am so tired of seeing the Traitor's name in print, that if he were to drop dead, I would not be upset about never even hearing about it.
Logan Act, anyone?
good point...........Kerry and Carter have this insane view that meeting with our enemies is a worthwile endeavor....hey, i'm all for dimplomacy but he almost seems to diss his friends and half of America in his effort to appear diplomatic......well he is part of that, just a DIP
Makes me gag!
"Kerry meets with Assad."
Why not? Asses just as other species of a feather, flock together. (Anyone here that hasn't heard a jackass referred to as a Rocky Mountain canary?)
showing Kerry is indeed and enemy of America
"Thank you but you are showing me more important than I was! You are showing me as a General!"
Wait a minute, he went to Nam for 4 months, actually 3 real months,wrote himself 3 Purple Hearts for self inflicted niches covered by Bandaids and came out a LTjg just as he went in after four years with almost none of his Peers liking or respecting him.You only hide your discharge papers when there is something to hide.
As in his days of purple heart collectin this chap is sufferin from delusions of relevancy......
Uh, he does realize he lost, doesn't he?
How in the world does john F'n have permission from anyone in authority to meet with out enemy? Of course consorting with the enemy is old hat to F'n.
Former U.S. presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, sips Arabic coffee in the ancient Omayyad Mosque in old Damascus on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2004. Kerry toured old Damascus following his talks in the Syrian capital regarding Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the U.S.-Syria strained bilateral relations.
After spending time with Syrian officials, Kerry took his coffee black because even John Kerry couldn't stand the fact that he had spent too much time smelling that dairy air! (Derriere.)
Is this picture hanging in any of their war museums yet.
Logan Act, anyone?
IMO, this is a clear violation. But I don't think the Logan Act has ever been enforced, unfortunately. GWB has enough to do without picking a fight about this. So he gets away with it.