EU tells Syria to improve relations with neighbors
European Union foreign ministers were inclined on Monday to urge Syria to better ties with its neighbors Lebanon and Iraq in exchange for warmer relations with Europe.
On his part, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy attacked Damascus for its apparent retaliation against the Lebanese government and for not fully implementing U.N. calls it remove all intelligence agents from Lebanon. "Blocking the border with Lebanon is unacceptable," Douste-Blazy told reporters, according to The AP.
A border dispute has recently delayed hundreds of trucks departing Lebanon for Syria, on their way for other Arab states. The dispute appeared to have escalated over the weekend.
Many Lebanese think that the recent Syrian measures are in retaliation for April's withdrawal of thousands of Syrian soldiers from this country after the Feb. 14 assassination of ex-Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri.
The EU is blocking a cooperation agreement, which offers aid and better trade conditions, with Syria over the latter's failure to fulfil EU demands to fight "terrorism" and cooperate in fostering peace in the Middle East.
- Beirut rejects US-EU demand for Syrian withdrawal as Chirac says Lebanon controlled by ”Syrian spies”
- France, Syria launch ”new era of relations”
- Bush wants full Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon by May
- Syria looks for Lebanon cooperation in controlling border
- Syria expected to complete Lebanon pullout on Sunday