UK minister: Syria must promote peace

Ivan Lewis meets with Syrian FM, calls on Damascus to influence Hizbullah, Hamas to denounce terror.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 5, 2009 07:33
2 minute read.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. (photo credit: AP)

 
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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 Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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 Heights.

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 positive way."

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