Lebanese, Syrian FMs Hold Talks in Damascus
By Nabil Al Mulhem
Albawaba.com – Damascus
Lebanon’s foreign minister Mahmoud Hammad held talks in Damascus Saturday with his Syrian counterpart Farouq Shara where they discussed the deadlocked peace process, the Palestinian Intifada and topics on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference, they said at a press conference held after their two-hour meeting.
Regarding the Israeli threats against Syria and Lebanon, Hammad pinned the blame on Israel “for what is going on in the Middle East,” for not complying with UN resolutions, and for its failure to go on with peace process on the basis of the 1991 Madrid Conference, which set the principle of land for peace as the framework for a peace settlement.
For his part, Shara said that Israel must take responsibility for the escalation of violence, saying that “its daily aggressions are crimes against humanity, and racist in nature.”
The Lebanese foreign minister reiterated that his country believes that UN Resolution 425 has not been fully implemented by Israel.
Hammad was referring to the disputed Shabaa, a mountainous area at the Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese borders, still occupied by Israel.
Asked whether he and Shara discussed the Issue of Syrian presence in Lebanon after calls by MPs’ for Syrian troops withdrawal, Hammad said that the issue is being discussed in the parliament, insisting that “it is an internal affair.”
Shara also refused to comment, repeating that the issue is only Lebanon’s concern.
In response to a question on whether the resolutions of the October Arab Summit could be amended in light of the following developments, Shara said that although the summit did not meet the expectations of the Arabs, there were positive decisions that should be put into effect, such as those related to severing relations with Israel.
He added that no meeting between the Arabs and the Israelis should take place under any banner.
Hammad told reporters that the conference on Arab-Mediterranean Partnership, to be held in Marseille on November 15-16, was also discussed during his meeting with Shara.
The visiting minister said that Shara is “the coordinator of the Arab stands” regarding the Marseille conference.
The Syrian minister said the Arab foreign ministers will meet in Doha on November 8 to decide whether they will take part in the Marseille conference, in which Israel is likely to take part. He said Syria will explain at the meeting why its rejecting participating at the conference.
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