Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bill Nelson should be commended for speaking to Syria, others should follow

Mideast expert Ahmed Bedier quoted in today's Tampa Tribune on U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's plans to visit Syria. Bedier commends Senator Nelson for the bold move but it maybe "too little, too late."

Senator's Trip To Syria Lands Him In Hot Zone
Tampa Tribune, 12/13/06
TALLAHASSEE - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is scheduled to meet with Syrian
President Bashar Assad today despite President Bush's objections.
"We discourage the travel of members of Congress to Syria because we believe it
undermines the Siniora government" of Lebanon, White House spokesman Blair Jones said.

"He should be commended for reaching out and trying for dialogue," said
Ahmed Bedier of Tampa, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic
Relations. Syria, branded by the Bush administration as a supporter of
terrorism, could perhaps help bring stability to Iraq, he said.

"You don't have to agree on everything - but there are some common
interests for all countries in the region," Bedier said. "If you continue to
neglect and not speak to them, that will make your job a lot harder."

Although Bedier welcomed the trip, he added a note of caution.
"A lot of things that are happening now are too little, too late. These things should have been happening years ago," Bedier said.

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