Kerry’s words on Assad certain to draw scrutiny

FILE – This April 1, 2010 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad meeting with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., President Barack Obama’s choice to become the next secretary of state, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

Story Summary ARABNEWS Jan. 11, 2013

Sen. John Kerry has held up Syria as a country that could bring peace and stability to the Mideast and predicted that the now-disgraced government of President Bashar Assad would pursue a legitimate relationship with the United States.

The nearly two-year civil war in Syria and the anger and frustration of some Republican lawmakers with Obama’s response is likely to produce several questions for Kerry. One of the newest committee members and a Kerry friend, Sen. John McCain, a Republican, has been the most vocal critic of Obama on Syria, complaining that the president’s policies have proved futile in stopping the bloodshed.

Kerry’s observation came during an appearance before the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in which he spoke optimistically about the Syrian government and the United States making progress with Assad.

Kerry ticked off six requests for Assad, including purchasing land for a U.S. Embassy in Damascus and border assistance with Iraq, and said the Syrian president fulfilled all of them.

Officials for Kerry and Shelby say neither ever referred to Assad as a “reformer”.

In August, Kerry echoed Obama’s call for Assad to step aside.

Shortly after Obama took office, Kerry traveled to Syria in February 2009 to push for Assad to honor Lebanon’s independence, to gain Syria’s help in getting Hezbollah to disarm and to make inroads in ending its close relationship with Iran

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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Categories: Americas, Syria, United States

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