Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.
(photo credit: AP)
A junior minister with the British foreign office urged Syria
on Tuesday to use its influence with Hamas and Hizbullah to stop violence
against Israel and help create the climate for a two-state solution to the
Ivan Lewis spoke in Damascus after talks with Syrian Foreign
Minister Walid al-Moallem. He is on a three-day visit to Syria and is scheduled
to travel to Lebanon next.
Lewis said he discussed with al-Moallem the "important
opportunity" presented by US President Barack Obama and the need for Syria to
help create the conditions for peace.
"We spoke of the very important opportunity that is now
presented by President Barack Obama and we want Syria to use its influence in
terms of helping to create the conditions now for the two-state solution between
the Israelis and the Palestinians," Lewis told reporters.
Syria's official news agency SANA quoted al-Moallem as
telling Lewis that "a major obstacle" to Mideast peace came from "Israel's lack
of political will to make peace."
Lewis said he believes there is an opportunity to end the
Middle East conflict by concluding comprehensive peace, creating a viable
Palestinian state alongside a secured Israel and returning to Syria the Golan
But he stressed that this needs to be accompanied by "ending
of the use of violence to promote or to presume political objectives which why
we want to see Syria exercise its influence over Hizbullah and Hamas in a