Ahmadinejad: It's going to be a 'hot' summer in the ME

Fires warning shot at Israel after surprise meeting with Nasrallah in Damascus; Hizbullah leader reportedly enters Syria via tunnel.

By JPOST STAFF, AP
July 19, 2007 18:09
1 minute read.

It's going to be a "hot" summer in the Middle East, said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following a surprise meeting with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in Damascus on Thursday evening. Channel 10 reported that Nasrallah allegedly entered Syria via an underground tunnel. "We hope that the hot weather of this summer would coincide with similar victories for the region's peoples, and with consequent defeat for the region's enemies," Ahmadinejad said. During his one-day trip to Damascus, Ahmadinejad held talks with counterpart Bashar Assad which focused on the Iraq situation, Palestinian territories and Lebanon, where both Teheran and Damascus wield influence. "The enemies of the region should abandon plans to attack the interests of this region, or they would be burned by the wrath of the region's peoples," the hardline Iranian leader said at a joint press conference with Assad. Ahmadinejad, accompanied by a high-level delegation, was greeted at Damascus airport by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem ahead of the official reception by Assad at the People's Palace. Assad was sworn in Tuesday for a second seven-year term. He described Syrian-Iranian relations as "amicable, excellent and extremely deep," adding that the two countries have common stands on regional issues and face common enemies. Assad said Ahmadinejad's visit came in the context of the continuous developing relations between the two nations whose "farsighted policies" have proven to be correct. The Syrian leader said they also discussed "ways of restoring dialogue among all Palestinian factions." Syria also backed Iran's right to pursue a nuclear program and the two called for the "departure of all occupation forces" from Iraq - a reference to US troops. Earlier, Ahmadinejad told Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramdan-Abdullah Shalakh that Iran's role in the Middle East was "to support the armed struggle of the Palestinian people." The Iranian president stressed the importance of unity between all Palestinian factions. Ahmadinejad also called on all countries in the region to be vigilant of Israel's attempts to revive itself following its "failure" of the Second Lebanon War. Ahmadinejad's visit posed a snub to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has called on Syria to cut its relations with Iran as a precondition to restart peace process, deadlocked since 2000.


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