Argentinian President meets with Assad

Fernandez calls on Israel to return Golan Heights to Syria.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 3, 2010 02:41
1 minute read.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez walks to

Syria Argentina 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Jorge Araujo)

During the first official visit of a Syrian president to Argentina, the South American nation's leader Friday expressed support for Palestinian statehood and Israeli border security and called on Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez also swiped at Israel's reliable UN ally, the United States, at a luncheon for Syria's Bashar Assad on Friday.

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"The countries who have a seat on the Security Council can violate and ignore United Nations resolutions, and only the smaller countries, or those without military or economic power, are obliged to follow them," she said.

Buenos Aires was the last stop on Assad's tour of left-leaning countries in Latin America, where he sought to deepen cooperation and trade with Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil.

Assad and Fernandez signed accords on transportation, information and culture. Last year's bilateral trade amounted to $380 million.

Argentina is seeking the arrest of top officials of Iran, Syria's close ally, on charges of masterminding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, but Fernandez did not explicitly address the issue in her public comments.

Assad planned to meet with representatives of Argentina's 2.4 million-member Syrian community before heading next to Spain.


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