Tags: Syria | kerry | assad | dinner | syria

Before Troubles, Kerry Had Intimate Dinner with Assad in 2009

Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 08:45 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Though Secretary of State John Kerry likened Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein at the weekend, the two shared an intimate dinner together with their wives in Damascus in 2009, according to a newly released photograph of the meeting.

Then a Massachusetts senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry met with Assad several times in February 2009 to discuss peace efforts in the Middle East, according to the Daily Mail.

Urgent: Should U.S. Strike Syria? Vote Here

"President Barack Obama's administration considers Syria a key player in Washington's efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process," Kerry said in a press conference at the time of the visit. "Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region."




Kerry echoed that same optimism in a March 2011 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, London's Daily Telegraph reports.

"I have been a believer for some period of time that we could make progress in [the Syrian-U.S.] relationship," he said. "And I'm going to continue to work for it and push it."

The picture shows Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz dining with Assad and his British-born wife Asma. Tha Mail says the picture was taken in the Damascus restaurant Naranj.

Fast-forward two years and Kerry's stance has drastically changed. As lab tests confirmed over the weekend that Assad used sarin nerve gas to kill more than 1,400 of his own people, the Secretary of State urged the world to intervene, warning that "history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator."

"Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who have used these weapons in time of war," Kerry told NBC's "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Urgent: Should U.S. Strike Syria? Vote Here

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