Assad calls U.S. to explain vision of peace; Hizbullah describes proposed peace conference – “trap”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad withheld his endorsement of a US proposal for a new Mideast peace conference, warning that any deal must be based on current UN resolutions, Syrian television reported.
"Syria has a clear position on the peace that it must be based on UN resolutions and the principles of the (1991) Madrid conference," which launched the Arab-Israeli peace process, Assad said while meeting with a former US congressman, Wayne Owens.
He added it was necessary that "the US administration has a clear vision of peace and elaborates this vision in cooperation with the countries concerned with pursuing the peace process." "The negotiations must unfold under a pre-defined framework," Assad insisted.
"The United States must be objective," the Syrian president said.
Assad described it as "illogical to qualify the current Israeli government as one of peace at a moment when they kill thousands of Palestinians." According to AFP, the official Syrian press blasted Saturday the planned Middle East peace conference announced by Powell, pointing to UN resolutions as a solution to the decades-long conflict.
In a related development, Lebanon's Hizbullah said a US-proposed Middle East peace conference was a "trap" to offer Israel normalization of ties with the Arabs without finding a solution to the Palestinian issue.
"The international conference that the Americans are speaking about is a trap idea toward normalisation," Hizbullah's number two, Sheikh Naim Qassem, said at a ceremony in south Beirut.
"The conference that America is calling for is a multilateral conference aimed at getting the Arabs and the Palestinians to the table to assert normalisation as well as economic, commercial and political exchanges without being part of a solution to the Palestinian issue," he said.
"Hizbullah is against this conference and considers that it is a step on the road to normalisation and not a step toward giving the Palestinians their rights," said the group's deputy secretary general. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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