Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kerry Urges Dialogue With Iran, Syria

On Wednesday, John Kerry left the U.S. for a nine-day trip to the Middle East. Kerry's trip includes a stop in Iraq, and a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While in Egypt on Thursday, Kerry said that the Bush administration should talk to Syria and Iran.
Kerry also told reporters in Cairo he believed U.S. policy in the Middle East was in trouble, partly because the United States had failed to listen to people in the region.

He cited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's advice in 2002 that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would lead to disaster. "Frankly, more people should have listened to him," he said after talks with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

"It's very important for countries to talk to each other, even when you disagree. We have serious differences with Syria right now, we have serious differencess with Iran, but you can't begin to resolve those differences if you're not willing to try to understand.. I think it's important to begin a discussion," said Kerry, a Massachusetts senator.

The Bush administration has rejected calls to hold talks with Syria and Iran and on Wednesday, Democratic senator Bill Nelson of Florida caught the ire of the Bush administration when he met with Syrian President Assad in Damascus. Nelson said he saw an opening for dialogue with Syria.

President George W. Bush issued a statement on Wednesday "calling on Syria to "immediately free all political prisoners" and "cease its efforts to undermine Lebanese sovereignty"."
Washington accuses Syria of allowing weapons and fighters to cross the border into Iraq, which Syria denies.

Kerry's keen sense of the importance of diplomacy is seen here once again, as the Bush administration stomps their feet and makes threats, Kerry sits and talks with world leaders...

The White House claimed today that the Senate trips to Syria "hurt Mideast progress." What a load of B.S. that is. It's not just Democratic Senators visiting Syria for talks, Republican Senator Arlen Specter from PA, will also be paying a visit to Syria.


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