Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Walid Muallem – Syrian Foreign Minister – “Yes, we do want to get the Golan back on a silver platter,” he said. “Let’s face it — it’s our land and our right to have it back is the most normal thing in the world.”
(AFP) Muallem said Syria supported further indirect contacts with Israel, which were frozen after the Jewish state launched a massive offensive against the Gaza Strip in December.
“We think a resumption of indirect contacts with Israel through Turkish go-betweens is the best way of getting to direct negotiations, but first and foremost we have to be confident that there is a political will in Israel to achieve peace,”…
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Syria deserved Western respect for the constructive role it had played in its smaller neighbor Lebanon in recent months, adding that Damascus did not interfere in the legislative elections and will not interfere in forming Lebanon’s next cabinet.
“Syria did not intervene in the Lebanese elections. Syria will not interfere in the formation of a new Lebanese government, but we want the new government to be a real government of national consensus between all parties that will secure Lebanon’s stability,” he said.
Syria backed a Hizbullah-led alliance in last month’s election in Lebanon that was won by the rival Western-backed coalition of prime minister-designate Rafik Hariri.
Hariri has said he is ready to renew the national unity government formed after factional violence last year, but only on condition that Hizbullah and its allies give up the veto powers on cabinet decisions they enjoyed in the outgoing government
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Syria on Tuesday to do its part to ensure the success of Middle East peace efforts and said “destructive elements” in the region that needed to be reined in.
“Syria has an objective interest in the success of the Middle East peace process and I call on Syria and also my counterpart Mr. Muallem to do its part,” he said at a joint press conference in Damascus with Muallem.
“There is no time to lose,” Steinmeier said after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Muallem on the latest leg of a Middle East tour.
But he said the Syrian-backed Lebanese group Hizbullah and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas had shown “no interest in the success of the peace talks.”…
Lack of progress in talks between Syria and Saudi Arabia is holding up the formation of a new Beirut government set to group Riyadh’s allies in Lebanon with rivals backed by Damascus, a senior politician said.
Senior Saudi envoys have visited Damascus at least three times since Lebanon’s parliamentary election a month ago, won by the “March 14” coalition led by Saad al-Hariri and backed by Riyadh and Washington.
The talks have highlighted the influence of Saudi Arabia and Syria in the country……
The last round of talks in Damascus on Friday grouped Saudi Prince Abdul-Aziz, King Abdullah’s son, and Information Minister Abdul-Aziz Khoja, the former Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose country dominated Lebanon until 2005.
The talks ended without a breakthrough needed to smooth the way for Hariri, prime minister-designate, to form the new cabinet, the senior Lebanese politician said on Tuesday.
“The atmosphere is good because Syria and Saudi Arabia are not arguing,” the politician said.The source said the talks had focused on a possible Hariri visit to Syria, which the billionaire politician has accused of his father’s assassination. The Sunni leader, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, is Riyadh’s closest ally in Lebanon.
“The matter of the government formation is moving along naturally,” Hariri said on Saturday. “The government of Lebanon is formed in Lebanon … any other talk is incorrect,” he said.
……”The general impression is negative. The Lebanese have no role in the formation of their government,” Aoun said in an interview with Hezbollah’s al-Manar television.
“None of the Lebanese are involved. Receiving notification of what is going on outside is not participation.”…
“The Opposition respects the President (Suleiman) and his shares in the government, but our shares are ours and his shares are his,” Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh said on Tuesday.
He hoped that the government would be formed in Lebanon.
Hariri is faced with three Syrian options:(al-Akhbar headlines translated by Lebanon Now)
…. Up until last Thursday, the dialogue between Riyadh and Damascus had resulted in three proposals submitted by the Syrian president to Prince Abdel Aziz. Bashar Al-Assad tasked the Saudi prince with briefing the Lebanese prime minister-designate on these proposals and conveying a clear position by Hariri in this respect.
The first of these proposals is for Hariri to form a majority government immediately in his capacity as a majority leader.
The second one pertains to the formation of a national unity government. Hariri would have to negotiate with the opposition, which would voice its demands in order to reach an agreement even if this requires that Hariri grant the opposition its obstructing-third demand.
The third proposal is for Hariri to visit Damascus, so that the Syrian leadership gets to know him if Damascus is to act as a mediator between him and the opposition to facilitate the formation of the government.
The leaders of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar are not to be absent from the Sharm al-Sheikh Summit.(From as-Safir)
Arab sources indicate that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has decided not to take part in the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement set to be held in Sharm al-Sheikh on July 15 and 16. Instead he will send deputy foreign minister, Faisal al-Moqdad….
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri told his visitors that he will not accept any conditions binding his mission, and that if some insist on these conditions, including the “obstructing third”, he would rather tell the president he cannot form the government.
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said that the coast is clear for [launching] a political consensus process “in which there is no predominance” and expressed hope that “the prime minister-designate will agree on forming a national unity government.”
A must read — The Qnion — by Qifa Nabki on the Hariri, Assad, Abdullah summit.
SyriaNews: Deputy Prime Minister Dardari says government salaries will be raised 35% until the end on 2010. Over the life of the 2005-2020 five year plan, government salaries will have been raised by close to 100%.
الدردري: زيادة على الرواتب بنسبة 35% حتى نهاية 2010 ومشاريع لتحسين المعيشة
قال نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء للشؤون الاقتصادية عبد الله الدردري إن الفترة حتى نهاية العام 2010 ستشهد زيادة في رواتب الموظفين تصل إلى 35%.
ونقلت صحيفة تشرين المحلية في عددها الصادر يوم الثلاثاء عن الدردري قوله إن “الفترة المتبقية من الخطة الخمسية العاشرة ستشهد زيادة للرواتب تصل إلى 35%، وذلك تطبيقاً لما نصّت عليه الخطّة من تحقيق زيادة على رواتب الموظفين تصل إلى 100%”.
وحققت الخطة الخمسية العاشرة 2005-2010 زيادة على رواتب الموظفين بلغت 65% فيما تنص الخطة على زيادة في الرواتب تصل إلى 100%.
وأضاف الدردري أن “النصف المتبقي من هذا العام مع العام القادم سيشهدان تطبيقاً لما ورد في الخطة الخمسية العاشرة التي وعدت بتحقيق زيادة على رواتب الموظفين تصل إلى الضعف عما كانت عليه مع انطلاقة الخطة، مشيرا إلى أن “هذه الزيادة ستأتي متزامنة مع مشروعات حكومية تهدف إلى تحسين معيشة المواطنين بشكل عام”.
وشهد شهر أيار من العام 2008 آخر زيادة على الرواتب والأجور للعاملين بالدولة والمتقاعدين بنسبة 25%، بالإضافة إلى رفع الحد الأدنى العام للأجور وكذلك الحد الأدنى لأجور المهن في جميع القطاعات بما فيها القطاع الخاص والتعاوني والمشترك بمقدار 25%.