Report: Syria spurns Solana's incentives

EU foreign policy chief offered renewed cooperation, aid for refugees in Syria.

March 17, 2007 11:15
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Syria has spurned EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana's recent offer of an incentives package designed to sweeten relations between Syria and Europe, the London-based pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported Saturday. Solana, who was visiting Damascus, reportedly made the Syrians a number of political and economic offers, including renewed cooperation; aid for refugees in Syria; and discussing the return of the Golan Heights. Two years ago, the EU decided to isolate Syria. Israel Radio reported "diplomatic sources" as confirming that since then, Syria has drawn closer to Iran. Solana's decision to go to Damascus this week is a 'mistake' that Israel opposes, senior diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said last week. Solana said he would travel to Syria to discuss the crisis in Lebanon. The surprise visit would be the first by a senior EU official to Damascus in more than two years, although European foreign ministers continue to visit there. His announcement came after Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, speaking at a meeting with the EU's foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, argued in favor of continuing the diplomatic isolation of Damascus. Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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