Turkish FM slams Israel over fuel tanks

Syrian FM: Flyover proves Israel doesn't want peace; Solana: Olmert vowed to reduce IDF forces on Golan.

September 10, 2007 13:34
1 minute read.
Turkish FM slams Israel over fuel tanks

Syria Turkey 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

Turkey on Monday called the discovery of fuel tanks allegedly dropped by IAF aircraft "unacceptable," and Syria branded it a "hostile act." Turkish officials complained to Israel over the weekend after the discovery of the unmarked fuel tanks near its border with Syria. Syria had alleged on Thursday that IAF aircraft entered its airspace and dropped munitions. "They dropped bombs over Syria, they dropped fuel tanks on Syrian soil," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Monday, during a visit to Turkey, accusing Israel of an "intentional and hostile act." Warplanes sometimes drop extra fuel tanks to make the aircraft lighter and easier to maneuver. "This is an unacceptable development," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said during the joint news conference with his Syrian counterpart. "All countries in the region must show respect to all countries' sovereignty and carefully avoid acts that lead to tensions," Babacan said. "Otherwise, tensions would be fueled, and peace and stability in the region might be harmed." Turkey had demanded a prompt clarification from Israel and was still waiting for a response, Babacan said. The IAF foray over Syria "contradicts Israel's claim that it wants peace," Moallem was quoted Monday as telling EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana after the alleged flyover. Hours before the reported incident, Moallem met Solana in Cairo and the EU foreign policy chief said that he had received assurances from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel would reduce its forces on the Golan Heights, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported. Moallem said Sunday that his country would submit a complaint to the UN Security Council over Thursday's alleged flyover. However, in a speech he delivered to foreign diplomats in Damascus, Moallem expressed concern that "the UNSC will act with double standards," and that "since it backs Israel, it will not condemn it." Moallem added that Damascus would "defend itself in the face of any Israeli attack," but stressed that "Syria seeks peace and not war," Israel Radio reported. Syrian MP Muhammad Habash told Al-Arabia television that the alleged incident was an aggressive operation that failed. Habash said that, as opposed to the IAF bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, when Israel "hastened to take responsibility," the failure of Thursday's alleged mission was proved by Israel's silence.

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