Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak sent a message of reassurance to Syria Sunday that Israel has no intention of using the transition period in Damascus to stir up trouble in Lebanon, reported Haaretz Monday.
The message was sent through Washington, Amman, and Cairo in telephone conversations Barak held with the heads of state in all three capitals, said the daily.
Barak asked US president Bill Clinton, King Abdullah II, and President Hosni Mubarak to pass on the message to Bashar Assad - and to seek reassurances from Syria that it too would not use the period between Hafez Assad's death and the consolidation of power by his son Bashar as the new president in Syria to raise regional tension, Haaretz reported.
Barak asked his cabinet ministers to refrain from commenting publicly on the transition of power, lest their comments have a disruptive influence on Damascus.
Barak told the Cabinet that Assad's death created "a new Middle East that we will have to study," axxording to the daily. He said that while changes were expected in a number of areas, he expected continued stability and quiet in Lebanon in the immediate future.
Noting that so far the transition of power is going smoothly in Syria, Barak said that he and Clinton agreed that it is unlikely that there will be a quick resumption of the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations, at least until Bashar Assad is well-ensconced in the presidency, the daily added.
In his conversations with Mubarak, king Abdullah and Clinton, Barak expressed "hope that the change in power will be done quickly and in a way that preserves stability," an official was quoted as saying.
Israeli foreign minister David Levy said Syria's need to focus on internal order made a peace treaty unlikely before Clinton leaves office in January, according to the daily - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)