Report: Syria wants Australian help in Washington
Syria has asked Australia for help in repairing its ties with the USA, according to a report published Saturday.
Sen. Sandy Macdonald, who last November led a parliamentary delegation to Syria, told The Weekend Australian newspaper Damascus wants Australian assistance in altering its image from a state that helps "terrorists" to a willing partner in the war on "terror."
"The leaders we spoke to in Syria appear keen to make linkages with the West and it sees Australia as having influence in Washington," Macdonald told the newspaper.
Syria plans to open an embassy in the Australian capital, Canberra, in coming weeks while Australia is considering reopening its diplomatic post in Damascus.
"We would like to see Syria follow Libya's example in making a genuine return to the international community," a spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told the paper.
"But Syria must abandon any effort to attain weapons of mass destruction, act to control the flow of terrorists across its border with Iraq and step up support for the war on terror," said the spokesman.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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