Kerry: US-Israel ties 'indisputable'

US senator meets with PM, Livni; calls meeting with Assad very constructive.

By
December 20, 2006 14:34
3 minute read.
Kerry: US-Israel ties 'indisputable'

john kerry 88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

US Senator John Kerry said on Thursday that leaders of Arab states had gone though a fundamental change. Before meeting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem, Kerry, who also met on Thursday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, told reporters that the relationship between the United States and Israel was "indisputable." "There is a special friendship, and there are unbelievably strong cultural, historical, personal and strategic reasons for that," added the US senator. Kerry, who lost out to President George W. Bush in the 2004 US presidential elections, said that his meeting the previous day with Syrian President Bashar Assad was positive, very constructive and was conducted in a very relaxed atmosphere. Army Radio reported that during his meeting with Livni, Kerry refused to say if Assad had requested that the senator deliver a message to Israel. During the meeting with Olmert, Kerry and Senator Christopher Dodd updated the prime minister on their visits to Iraq, Lebanon and Syria as part of the tour the two have recently been conducting in the region. The senators met with Assad on Wednesday to discuss how Damascus could help bring about stability and security to war-ravaged Iraq. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, has sharply criticized Bush's rejection of recommendations that Washington engage Syria and its ally Iran on calming Iraq, saying that the United States must deal with its enemies in the region if it wants to bring progress. The White House has accused Kerry, Dodd and other senators who have met with Assad of sending mixed signals and has insisted that the US will not make concessions to Damascus to win its help in Iraq. Kerry and Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, declined to speak to reporters after their talks with Assad and a separate meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. The US Embassy in Damascus said the meeting with Assad, which lasted two and a half hours, covered "a full-range of topics relating to US-Syrian relations and regional issues." The two US lawmakers later went on a sightseeing tour in the Old Damascus Town in central Damascus. They arrived in Damascus Tuesday as part of a Middle East tour to probe Syria's readiness to help bring about stability and security to neighboring Iraq Kerry, who ran against Bush in 2004 elections, arrived here after visits to Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. Dodd, a Connecticut senator who is considering a run for US president in 2008, also was in Iraq - his third trip there since the war began. Their visit came a few days after a similar one by Senator Bill Nelson, who also met with Assad. The diplomatic push from Congress comes on the heels of a recommendation by a bipartisan panel that the US engage Iran and Syria on the war in Iraq. Bush has expressed reluctance to seek help from Damascus on Iraq until the Syrians curb their support to radical Palestinian groups and to the Lebanese Hizbullah and reduce their influence in Lebanon. Syria has influence with Iraqi Sunnis, and some leaders of the Sunni-led insurgency are believed to be living there. Kerry has criticized the Bush administration for refusing to engage with Syria and Iran, as was recommended by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Syrian-US relations have been strained for several years. Washington accuses Syria of aiding terrorism because of its support for radical Palestinian groups based in Damascus and the Hezbollah party. It also accuses Syria of aiding the Iraqi insurgency by allowing militants to cross into Iraq. Syria denies promoting the insurgency, saying it cannot have absolute control over its long and porous desert border with Iraq. It regards the radical Palestinian groups as legitimate opponents of Israeli occupation. The United States withdrew its ambassador to Damascus last year after the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which many Lebanese blamed on Syria. Damascus denies any role in the killing. Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
October 21, 2018
King Abdullah declines to renew part of Jordan's peace deal with Israel

By HERB KEINON