Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Posted by Helena Cobban at JWN at January 16, 2008
The director of the Syrian Foreign Ministry's Foreign Press Department yesterday expressed disappointment with the outcome of the Arab-Israeli peace conference held in Annapolis, Maryland, in late November. Syria had sent its deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mikdad, to participate in the conference. But the Foreign Press department head, Ms. Bushra Kanafani, told me in an exclusive interview yesterday that she was not sure where the process launched at Annapolis was now headed.
Ms. Kanafani expressed pessimism that the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating track that was re-launched there was headed for success. "As we see it" she said, "the priority for Palestinians is not in these peace talks but to make a reconciliation among the Palestinians themselves."
At the time of Annapolis, Syria had scrapped plans to host a "summit conference" involving Hamas and many other anti-Fateh Palestinian movements. That conference has now been rescheduled for January 23-25. Ms. Kanafani was at pains to point out, though, that "its aim is to rebuild Palestinian national unity… Mr. Abbas has been invited."
Regarding the Syrian-Israeli track, she expressed no expectation that anything would be happening in it any time soon. A follow-up session that the Russians– who are members of the US-led "Quartet", along with the UN and the EU– had considered holding in Moscow in mid-January has not eventualized, and there are no other current prospects for any activity on the Syrian-Israeli track. ….