Syrian President In Saudi Arabia For Talks; Jordan FM: No Syrian-Lebanese Reservation On Saudi Peace Initiative

Published March 5th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Syrian President Bashar al Assad was due in Saudi Arabia Tuesday to discuss Crown Prince Abdullah's Middle East peace proposal.  


Most of the Arab states have welcomed the Saudi initiative, though al Assad on Sunday expressed reservations about the plan as it does not address the issue of the Palestinian refugees.  


Al Assad is planned to meet Saudi King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah to review the prospects of Israel returning the occupied Golan Heights to Syria.  


Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian ambassador to Syria, Bakr Abdullah bin Bakr, said that Syrian President's visit to the kingdom is of specific significance due to its timing, prior to the Arab Summit scheduled to take place later this month in Beirut. 


Bakr said in a statement made to the press that al Assad's visit and the discussions that would be held comes amidst ongoing talks between the two nations. 


The ambassador added that Saudi-Syrian ties have always been of benefit to the Arab people and represent the depth of relations between the two countries. Saudi Arabia is an integral part of the Arab world, Bakr claimed, and would not hesitate to help any of its Arab neighbors in redeeming their rights, according to KUNA. 


Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's peace efforts are a part of this Saudi concern with Arab issues, its constant work to return Arab rights and land, and to build a world free of terrorism.  


The talks would focus on the escalating violence in Palestine, in wake of the current Arab and international talks with Israel to broker a peace plan. 


Bakr added that the Saudi peace initiatives would be reviewed, and perspectives shared prior to the upcoming Arab summit.  


On Monday, the Syrian leader received Jordanian Prime Minister, Ali Abu al-Ragheb and the accompanying Jordanian Foreign Minister, Marwan Moaasher.  


Abu al-Ragheb conveyed to al-Assad a message from Jordan’s King Abdullah, related to the forthcoming Arab summit which is scheduled to be held in Beirut later this month.  


Following the meeting, Moaasher told reporters that the meeting came in the framework of the coordination and consultation with Syria, especially as preparations underway for the convention of an Arab summit. He indicated that talks dealt with all the issues related to the summit.  


Moaasher declared the Syrian-Lebanese summit statement confirmed the Arab  

rights and didn't show any reservation on the Saudi peace proposal.  


"We didn't see in the Syrian-Lebanese joint statement any Syrian-Lebanese reservation on the Saudi peace initiative, rather it (the statement) confirms the Arab, Syrian and Lebanese rights, and these rights are acknowledged by all and do not contradict with the Saudi initiative," Moaasher said in a press statement following  

a cabinet session on Monday.  


"We didn't see from the Syrian party that there was a contradiction between the initiative and the Arab rights," Moaasher was quoted as saying by Petra News Agency. The right of return for the Palestinian refugee was not missed from the plan. "We all insist on this right including the Syrians and all the Arab countries," Moaasher said in reply to a question.  


"The ( Saudi) initiative was clear message to the Israelis and to the international community that the Arab World want peace," he said. But this peace should be based on restoring the Arab rights and not a peace without rights, he added. ( 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (

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