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Originally published Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 9:05 AM

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Kerry: Assad missed shot to tighten ties with West

Sen. John Kerry says Syria's leader missed an historic opportunity to tighten ties with the West, and it's far too late now.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

Sen. John Kerry says Syria's leader missed an historic opportunity to tighten ties with the West, and it's far too late now.

President Barack Obama's nominee to be secretary of state says President Bashar Assad insisted he wanted to create jobs for Syria's youthful population. He had a chance, then, to work with Western nations.

But, Kerry says, "History caught up to us: That never happened."

Kerry is likely to coast to confirmation. But he's faced some criticism for reaching out to Assad in an attempt to pull Syria away from Iran.

Kerry says Assad has since made "reprehensible" judgments and that his time remaining as Syria's leader is shortening.

On Assad's past chance, Kerry said Thursday, diplomacy "is moving in a way that now makes that ancient history."

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