Syrian President Bashar Assad assured Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who had telephoned him, of Syrian support of the Palestinians, a Syrian spokesman said Tuesday.
The backing indicated a marked upturn in relations between Damascus and Arafat, who were not on speaking terms under Bashar's late father Hafez al-Assad.
Assad "condemned Israel's aggressive acts against the Palestinian people and the holy places in Palestine and said Israel bore total responsibility for dangerous situation in Palestine and on the border with Lebanon", spokesman Gebran Kurieh said in a statement.
Arafat "thanked President Assad for Syria's support and solidarity for the national rights of the Palestinian people," it added.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Shara said that Israel will "pay an exorbitant price" for Palestinian loss of life.
In a statement at the end of a visit by his Egyptian counterpart Amr Moussa, he said Syria wanted the United States and the European Union to make a clear condemnation of Israel for causing the crisis.
"We think that we are at a key turning point, at the beginning of a new stage, Israel will pay an exorbitant price for the martyrs and victims among the Palestinian people, who have fallen in defense of their dignity and their country," he said without giving further details.
"The international moves (for peace) are important, and we appreciate them. But we want the words we hear over the telephone to be transformed into actions," he added – DAMASCUS (AFP)
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