Posted by Joshua on Monday, July 14th, 2008
|ANALYSIS / At Paris summit, Assad has all the answers to Mideast conflict|
|By Zvi Bar'el and Barak Ravid, Haaretz, 14/07/2008|
…….A few hundred meters away, a new star was born: Assad. He was the man with all the answers to regional conflicts. He solved the Lebanese conflict at the last minute; Hamas and Islamic Jihad are his guests and therefore are subservient to the well-known rules of hospitality. In the peace process with Israel he is considered the good guy.
France had fully renewed relations with Assad, and Washington watched with frustration how its policy of sanctions against Syria was taking a nosedive.
No wonder Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem was very happy, even though he looked drawn and pale. Every half hour he came down the elevator with one high-level visitor to Assad, and took another one up. Cypriot President Demetris Christofias was there, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon disappeared into Assad's room and came out smiling embarrassedly a while later.
"Did you see Terje Larsen's face?" a member of the Syrian delegation asked a Haaretz reporter. "When he went in it was white and when he came out it was red. He must have gotten an earful from Assad."
Terje Roed-Larsen, responsible for implementing UN Resolution 1559 calling on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon, said some angry things about the peace process with Assad, which he saw as giving in to terror. Larsen is frustrated but his boss is happy.
Then came Assad's press conference. Things went fine in the elevator. The Syrian security detail was not quite together and allowed an Israeli reporter to reach the floor where the briefing was taking place. The cream of the Lebanese and Syrian press corps was wandering around waiting for Assad. No one fled when they heard the words "Israeli journalist."
A few years ago Syrian journalists would clam up or leave; this time, it was as if peace had already broken out. But the Syrian security men had not heard about it.
A short time later one of them "with all due respect" asked the reporter to leave. "This is only for Syrian journalists," he said. To the retort that Lebanese journalists were present, he responded: "Syria and Lebanon are one country."
He had apparently not heard Assad's announcement that a Syrian embassy was to open in Lebanon.
Hussein Shariatmadari, an advisor to Iran's supreme leader and editor-in-chief of Kayhan, warns Syria of the negative impact 'peace' will have on relations with Tehran…. He said that Iran does not recognize the Jewish State and does not look favorably on a Muslim country like Syria or Turkey carrying out negotiation with it….
|حسين شريعتمداري يرأس أيضاً تحرير صحيفة "كيهان" المحافظة|
حذر مستشار للمرشد الأعلى لإيران آية الله علي خامنئي من أن توقيع أي اتفاق سلام بين سوريا واسرائيل سيكون له "عواقب وتغييرات جوهرية" على طبيعة علاقات طهران ودمشق، مؤكداً أن بلاده "لا تعترف بدولة اسمها اسرائيل، ولا تشعر بالرضا لقيام دولة إسلامية، مثل سوريا أو تركيا، بالتفاوض معها".
في المقابل، اعتبر حسين شريعتمداري، ممثل المرشد الأعلى في صحيفة "كيهان" الإيرانية المحافظة التي يرأس تحريرها، أن مفاوضات حماس مع إسرائيل، عبر مصر، للتوصل إلى هدنة، أو مفاوضات حزب الله مع إسرائيل عبر الوسيط الألماني، توصلاً لصفقة لتبادل الأسرى، هو "شيء مختلف" عن المحادثات السورية الإسرائيلية عبر تركيا
Syria basks in diplomatic breakthrough
By Sami Moubayed
DAMASCUS – "Our telephone number is 202-456-1414. When you are serious about peace, call us." These were the words of former United States secretary of state James Baker in June 1990 when he suspended dialogue with Yasser Arafat, claiming the Palestine Liberation Organization was still committed to armed war with Israel and thereby not interested in peace. …..
…From France's perspective, in the past two months the following has been achieved:
From the Syrian perspective, the following are important:
Syria sidelined all of the anti-Syrian candidates running for the presidency and secured the election of Michel Suleiman, a man who is a friend of both Damascus and Hezbollah. It got its way when saying that it would not allow an anti-Syrian statesman to become the new master of the Baabda presidential palace. Suleiman is a staunch supporter of resisting Israel and will not tolerate any force being used to disarm Hezbollah. He is also a non-sectarian figure who believes in excellent relations with Syria and is on the payroll of neither the Americans nor the Saudis.
Spotlight on Israel and Syria at Paris summit
By Tony Barber in Paris for Financial Times
Published: July 14 2008 03:00 | Last updated: July 14 2008 03:00
The European Union and its Mediterranean neighbours launched a new platform for their relationship yesterday at a summit boosted by a promise from Lebanon and Syria to open embassies in each other's capital.
Leaders of more than 40 countries attended the inaugural session of the Union for the Mediterranean, a project conceived by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, as a way to bridge differences between the EU and the states of north Africa and the Middle East.
As the ceremonies got under way at the majestic Grand Palais in Paris, the spotlight fell on Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, and Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, whose countries, bitter enemies since 1948, have held three rounds of indirect talks since March with Turkey as mediator.
It was the first time an Israeli and a Syrian leader had been seated in the same room, but the new union's plenary session was carefully choreographed so that Mr Assad and Mr Olmert neither exchanged words nor shook hands.
Moreover, Mr Assad made it plain that he saw no prospect of direct peace talks with Israeli leaders at least until George W. Bush, the US president, left office. He told French television after the summit that it would take up to two years to reach a Syrian-Israeli peace deal….
"We can say that Lebanon has moved from being a zone of turbulence, a war zone, to a more pacified zone where the Lebanese, and only the Lebanese, have the right to determine their own future," Mr Assad said after talks with Michel Suleiman, Lebanon's president….