Syrian President Calls on Incoming US Administration not to Align with Israel
Syrian President Bashar Assad called Monday on the incoming US administration of president-elect George W. Bush to remain neutral, and not align itself with Israel, said AFP.
"It is the new US administration's duty to revive the worn-out peace process and take on a new, more efficient role, in conformity with the principle of neutrality and non-alignment with Israel", the radio quoted Assad as saying at a joint news conference in Damascus with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak.
Mubarak arrived Monday in Damascus, the first visit since Assad took power in June following his father's death.
The two leaders reviewed bilateral and regional talks.
The Syrian president asked the new administration to work for "a fair and global peace based on the UN Security council's 242 and 338 resolutions, which stipulate Arab territories occupied in 1967 will be handed back in exchange for peace."
Assad also called on the UN and the European Union (EU) to play "an efficient role" in the peace process and denounced "Israeli threats" to his country, according to AFP.
"The threats of the Israeli leaders are an attempt to export their internal problems", he said. "Threatening Syria with war is in itself an aggression," he added.
For his part, Mubarak said that "stability and security in the region can only be achieved through the restitution of the Golan Heights" to Syria, and once "all violated Palestinian rights have been recovered."
Quoted by radio, Mubarak reiterated his desire to "pursue cooperation with President Bashar al-Assad."
Negotiations between Israel and Syria have been frozen for a year. Syria demands a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, occupied by the Jewish state in 1967, while Israel wants to retain the northern shore of Lake Tiberius.
Syrian officials accuse US President Bill Clinton's administration of "total alignment" with Israel and over the past few weeks, the Syrian press has denounced on an near-daily basis the US president's proposals for a peace agreement between the Israel and the Palestinians, according to the agency.
Syrian political analysts were quoted Monday by the Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) as saying that the "meeting between Mubarak and Assad is very important at this time due to the deteriorating situation in the region, and Israel's attitude towards the middle east peace process."
Mubarak asserted Sunday the importance of a Syrian-Egyptian coordination that focuses on Arab principles to reach just and comprehensive peace in the region, said one analyst.
Assad visited Cairo at the beginning of October in his first foreign visit since coming to power in July. He attended an emergency Arab summit that was especially held to support the Palestinian Intifada -- Albawaba.com
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