French President Jacques Chirac met with his Syrian peer Bashar al Assad in Damascus on Sunday to discuss the Middle East situation and Iraq.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Buthaina Shaaban told reporters the two leaders discussed Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and quoted Assad as telling Chirac "the continuation of the current situation (in the Palestinian territories) and of the repressive policies practiced by Israel led to the breakdown in the peace process."
Commenting on Chirac's statement at a conference of French-speaking nations in Beirut that a regional settlement should include Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon, Shaaban said: "When peace (between Arabs and Israelis) is achieved, there will be no need for Syrian forces in Lebanon."
Chirac later met with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, AP reported. A palace statement at the end of their 90-minute meeting said the two leaders expressed "identical views" in discussions that focused on Iraq and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Chirac and Abdullah urged an end to the cycle of violence in the Palestinian territories and a resumption of negotiations according to a U.S.-proposed roadmap for Palestinian-Israeli peace, the statement said.
It added while both leaders expressed hope for "continued efforts to resolve the Iraq crisis through diplomatic means," they urged Baghdad to "unconditionally" comply with U.N. resolutions and dismantle its weapons of mass destruction. (Albawaba.com)
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