Sharon sets “conditions” for Syrian participation in regional peace summit
Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon said Monday that Syria may participate in a regional peace summit only if it agrees to a series of Israeli demands, including ending its "occupation" of Lebanon, and dismantling Hizbullah, Israel Radio reported.
Sharon presented his conditions before the the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday, the radio added. He listed the following: expulsion of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from Lebanon; the dismantling of Hizbullah; deployment of the Lebanese Army in the south of the country; ending of "Syrian occupation" in Lebanon; as well as disclosure of information on captured and missing Israeli soldiers.
According to the radio, Sharon said in the meeting that Saudi Arabia conditioned the regional summit on Syrian attendance. Meretz MK Ran Cohen responded to Sharon's demands by saying "under these conditions there won't be a summit."
Meanwhile, the peace conference could be held within a matter of weeks, Israel’s mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronot daily reported Monday.
According to KUNA, the Israeli daily also quoted a senior U.S. official as saying the conference would be held before July 15th.
The official added that the Bush administration has been coordinating with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and that the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Russia and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are aware of these plans.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)