Reuters: U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2004, said on Thursday the U.S. administration should talk to Syria and Iran. CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2004, said on Thursday the U.S. 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.
Kerry left the United States on Wednesday for a nine-day visit of the Middle East, including Iraq, and a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but not a visit to Iran.
Fellow Democratic senator Bill Nelson of Florida met Assad in Damascus on Wednesday and said he saw an opening for dialogue with Syria.
President George W. Bush, who has resisted pressure to hold talks with Syria and Iran, 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.