Eitan: We must not negotiate with Syria

GIL chairman says Assad's meeting with Ahmadinejad proves his true intentions.

By JPOST STAFF, AP
July 19, 2007 21:13
2 minute read.
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Damascus proves that Israel must not open negotiations with Syria, GIL Chairman Rafi Eitan said Friday. "[Syrian President Bashar] Assad is not showing any indication that he will cut his strong ties with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah even after he starts peace talks with Israel," Eitan told Israel Radio. Ahmadinejad's visit Thursday 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 talks, deadlocked since 2000.

  • On the road with Netanyahu in the US; on the agenda: Iran divestment The Iranian president's talks with Assad 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. Also Thursday, following a surprise meeting with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in Damascus, Ahmadinejad said that it was going to be a "hot" summer in the Middle East. Nasrallah allegedly entered Syria via an underground tunnel, Channel 10 said. "We hope that the hot weather of this summer will coincide with similar victories for the region's peoples, and with consequent defeat for the region's enemies," Ahmadinejad added, in an apparent reference to Israel. 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.

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