Syria's ruling Baath party on Saturday said there was a need for "a concentrated action" to lift the sanctions slapped on Iraq where a rival wing of the pan-Arab party is in power, said AFP.
"It is necessary to work in a concentrated and continuous manner to lift the blockade imposed on Iraq and put an end to the suffering of its people," said the party assistant secretary general, Abdullah al-Ahmar.
He said this aim should be achieved while "taking into consideration the concerns of Kuwait," whose occupation by Iraqi troops from August 1990 to February 1991 prompted the UN sanctions against Iraq.
Ahmar was addressing a meeting at the University of Damascus to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the party that seeks to unite the Arabs from the Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean in a single state.
The Baath Arab Socialist Party held its first congress in Damascus on April 7, 1947. It seized power in Syria in 1963 and in Iraq in 1968.
"We also need to work to lift all forms of embargo against Libya and Sudan, to reactivate the Arab boycott of Israel and to end all forms of cooperation" with the Jewish state, Ahmar said, cited by the agency.
He added that the Arabs' priority should be to "strengthen resistance and back the (Palestinian) uprising". Ahmar said Syria was "sincere when it extended its hand to the Palestinians."
"The Baath today calls on the Arabs to undertake a serious and concentrated action to forge a national program in the face of the Zionist racist project," he said.
He added that the principles underlying the Arab program should be:
“There will be no peace without a total return of the Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese lands occupied in 1967, without the return of (east) Jerusalem, without the right of the Palestinian refugees to return and without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with real sovereignty and with Jerusalem as its capital."
Ahmar also renewed Syria's call for the US administration to act as "an honest broker" in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is expected this month to travel to Damascus, in his first official visit to Syria since 1996, said reports.
"The date of the visit has not been set yet, we are waiting for some Arab consultations with the (US) sponsor of the peace process," head of PLO political department, Faruq Qaddumi told Tishrin.
"There will be afterward consultations about the visit of Abu Ammar (Arafat) and the summit will be held, God willing, during the second half of this month," he added.
He said the Syrian leadership and Arafat could agree during the visit on a "struggle program" based on "five principles."
Those principles are: a "total (Israeli) withdrawal from Palestinian lands occupied in 1967," the "return of all the Palestinian refugees," the withdrawal of Israel from East Jerusalem," "backing the Palestinian uprising and its continuation," and the "establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said.
Arafat has had strained relations with Syria since 1993, when it rebuked him for signing the Oslo peace accords with Israel – Albawaba.com
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