Syrian FM: Arafat-Assad Summit Soon
The first Palestinian-Syrian summit meeting in years could take place before or during a gathering of Arab leaders in Jordan later this month, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Shara said in Cairo Sunday.
"There's no problem with holding the meeting if the results serve the interests of the Syrian and Palestinian people and the central (Palestinian) cause," Shara was quoted as saying by AFP on arrival in Cairo.
Palestinian officials said the last time there was such a summit was when Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of current leader Bashar, during an Arab summit in Cairo in 1996.
Meanwhile, the Emirati Arabic daily, Al Bayan, has referred to reports that the Israeli authorities barred Arafat on Friday from traveling to Damascus.
Arafat last traveled to Damascus in June to attend the funeral of the late Syrian president. He met briefly with his successor Bashar.
Relations between Arafat and Syria have been chronically strained since the Palestinians signed separate peace accords with Israel in Oslo in 1993.
In July, Syria refused to receive Arafat who was on a world tour to muster support for the Palestinians after the break up of talks with the Israelis.
But after the outbreak of the Intifada, Arafat telephoned Assad to discuss the "crimes" committed by Israel against the Palestinians.
The call was the first contact between the two leaders since the death of President Hafez.– Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)