Gulf States Freeze Normalization with Israel Till Syrian Peace Talks Activated
By Nabil Al Mulhem
Damascus – Albawaba.com
Arab Diplomats said here that Oman, Qatar and Bahrain among other Gulf states have agreed to Syria’s request to stop any normalization with Israel, until the Syrian-Israeli peace talks are reinvigorated.
The diplomats said that the understanding was reached during the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Damascus Declaration states, concluded in Cairo last week.
The sources added that the Gulf monarchies were under pressure from the US to accelerate the establishment of normal relations with the Jewish state. They said that the American position was conveyed by Defense Secretary William Cohen during his last visit to the Gulf.
Echoing US Vice President Al Gore’s remarks, Cohen had said Syria does not intend to resume peace negotiastions with Israel during the remaining period of US president Bill Clinton’s term.
However, the sources told Albawaba.com that Shara had affirmed at the Cairo meeting that his country is serious about a peace settlement provided that all Syrian occupied lands are returned.
Meanwhile, the diplomats also said that the UAE has informed Lebanon of its refusal to fund reconstruction in Lebanon at the current stage, fearing that Israeli attacks on the area might be renewed. The Gulf state linked the aid with the resumption of peace talks on the Syrian-Israeli, and Lebanese-Israeli peace tracks.
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