The United States ought to revise its policy in the region if it wants the upcoming Mideast peace conference to succeed, a Syrian government newspaper said Tuesday, stopping short of saying Syria would not attend.
"What is the advantage of such a conference ... if those who have called for it are not contemplating to reconsider their negative policies in the region and define its supposed target beforehand?" said the Tishrin newspaper, which reflects Syrian government views. It was Syria's first official reaction to Rice's call for a conference.
Washington's aim in holding the conference, Tishrin speculated, was to have Syria and Israel normalize ties while retaining the status quo.
Tishrin said the Bush administration continued to view "our pending issues illogically and illegally and through an Israeli perspective," referring to the Golan Heights.
Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. on Monday, called for a comprehensive peace in the region. He said his country would study the US proposal before deciding on whether to attend.