Arafat-Assad Meeting to be Held on Sidelines of Arab Summit
A Syrian-Palestinian summit, the first since 1996, will be held on the sidelines of the Arab summit in Amman on March 27th, said Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara Sunday.
"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will hold talks on the sidelines of the Amman summit," Shara told the press as he greeted his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah off the plane.
The Kuwaiti minister is on a regional Arab tour that will also take him to Egypt and Jordan.
Palestinian officials said the last time there was such a summit was when Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of current leader Bashar, during an Arab summit in Cairo in 1996.
Arafat last traveled to Damascus in June to attend the funeral of the late Syrian president. He met briefly with his successor Bashar.
Relations between Arafat and Syria have been chronically strained since the Palestinians signed separate peace accords with Israel in Oslo in 1993.
In July, Syria refused to receive Arafat who was on a world tour to muster support for the Palestinians after the break up of talks with the Israelis.
But after the outbreak of the Intifada, Arafat telephoned Assad to discuss the "crimes" committed by Israel against the Palestinians.
The call was the first contact between the two leaders since the death of President Hafez. – Albawaba.com
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