Kerry meets with Assad in Syria


(JTA) — In a visit to Damascus, U.S. Sen. John Kerry told Syria’s president that it was time to re-engage with the West.

Kerry (D-Mass.), following his April 1 meeting with Bashar Assad, said in a statement that the United States and Syria have “a mutual interest in having a very frank exchange on any differences that may exist, but also on the many, many agreements that we have about the possibilities of peace in this region.”

The visit by Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, came as the U.S. Senate prepared to take up the nomination of America’s first ambassador to Syria since 2005. The United States withdrew its envoy that year to protest the assassination of Lebanon’s then-prime minister, Rafik Hariri. Syria was seen as behind the killing.

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