Blair advocates dialogue with Syria, but urges Damascus to end support for ''terrorist'' groups
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday the Palestinian-Israeli peace process could be derailed if Syria and Iran do not end their support for "terrorist" groups.
He added Tehran and Damascus should stop developing what he called their weapons of mass destruction.
According to AP, Blair told lawmakers in the House of Commons that Britain believed dialogue was the best way to engage with Syria. He said Syria's alleged weapons of mass destruction programs were "a concern ... but we believe that the best way to pursue those concerns is in dialogue with the Syrian government and that dialogue is of a frank and critical nature.
"In relation to the support of Syria for terrorism, this is an issue we have raised constantly," Blair added. "The closure of the offices of rejectionist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are a step in the right direction, but we have to go far further."
In the past, Iran and Syria denied they were developing weapons of mass destruction. Blair said Britain would continue to put pressure on both nations to reform.
"If we can get a peace process moving forward in the Middle East, it will be essential that Syria and indeed other countries cut off all support for these terrorist groups. Otherwise, they will derail the process," Blair said.
"If they don't change on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, then the world becomes a less safe place. So I think we are right to pursue this frank but critical dialogue, and we will continue to do so," he added. (Albawaba.com)
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