Shrugging off protests from the White House, the speaker of the US House of Representatives has continues her tour of Syria, visiting Damascus. Nancy Pelosi is in the country for a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, a visit the White House has criticised as a “bad idea”.
Pelosi says she has great hope but no illusions about today’s talks, which will focus on the fight against terrorism, Iraq and Lebanon. But back in Washington President George W. Bush warned her actions would be misinterpreted: “Going to Syria sends mixed signals, both in the region and, of course, mixed signals to President Assad.”
Meanwhile, President Bush has slammed the US Congress, accusing it of making troops pay the price for a hold-up in war funds. He accused the Democrats of evading responsibility: “The bottom line is this: Congress’ failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. “
The majority Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate have said yes to the extra funds Bush demanded for Iraq and Afghanistan, but with strings attached. One of those is that all US troops must be home no later than next summer.
Bush has vowed to veto the bill.