Syria Hits at Omani Foreign Minister for Meeting Barak
The Syrian ruling Al-Baath party newspaper implicitly attacked Oman's foreign minister Wednesday for meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak during the UN Millennium Summit in New York earlier this month.
"A dual position toward Israel is unacceptable. Yet some are meeting with the aggressors under the sign of peace, thereby violating the unity of Arab ranks and Arab resolutions," Al-Baath said without naming the minister.
"No excuse is justified as long Ehud Barak's government occupies Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan," the last of which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, it added.
Omani Minister for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi was quoted by an Omani paper Tuesday as saying: "I met the Israeli prime minister and I told him categorically that neither he nor his successor should expect Israel to have authority or sovereignty over the Palestinian territories."
He gave no date for the first reported meeting between a senior Omani official and an Israeli leader since 1995, but it is thought to have followed Barak's September 8 talks with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
The Omani-Israeli meeting came at a time when Arab countries have affirmed a freeze on all contacts with the Jewish state unless there is a breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli peace process.
The Syrian government newspaper Tishrin criticized ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which "concern the Palestinians giving up their rights, their land and Jerusalem and not the Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories."
The negotiators "are completely ignoring UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338" calling for Israel to withdraw from occupied land, Tishrin said, adding that "the Barak government isn't serious and doesn't want peace."
"The only difference between this government and that of (former Israeli prime minister) Benjamin Netanyahu, is one of style," it added.
The official Ath-Thawra newspaper called for Arabs "to unite quickly ... on the issue of Jerusalem, which is a central issue." – DAMASCUS (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)