Shalom (L) and Mulki in Tel Aviv
Photo: Ofer Amram
Both ministers agreed that Assad's partial withdrawal is not enough
Syria must fully withdraw from Lebanon because a U.N. Security Council resolution demands so, Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki said Saturday.
Syria cannot ignore resolution 1559’s existence because all U.N. decisions must be executed, he said following a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, the first meeting in Israel in four years between such senior officials.
In response, Shalom said over a year ago he ordered the
By Ali Waked and Roee Nachmias
Syria will withdraw its troops to the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, Syrian President Bashar Assad said during his speech to parliament Saturday, announcing his plan for a partial withdrawal from Lebanon
Foreign Ministry to begin diplomatic steps towards the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.
“At the time it seemed unsubstantial and impossible, “ he said. “However, I’m happy to say it now looks more tangible than ever.”
Possible Lebanese-Israeli relations
However, despite this, Shalom said he believes the road ahead is long and it is up to the international community to continue its pressure on Syria, to stop its support of terror and withdraw its troops from Lebanon.
“The international community, parts of the Arab world and Israel, of course, all demand that resolution 1559 be fully implemented,” he said.
This would allow free and democratic elections in Lebanon, allowing the Lebanese people to choose their own representatives to establish an independent country, he said.
“Perhaps in the future we will be able to see the direction the nation has taken, towards a greater understanding and a possible peace with Israel,” he said.
‘To advance the peace process, while fighting terror’
Both ministers agreed the advancement of the road map plan is conditioned by the Palestinian’s fight against terror.
Shalom said Israel is committed to implementing the plan step-by-step.
However, he said the plan could not be advanced without implementing the first stage, such as dismantling terror infrastructures and stopping incitement.
“We are now at a stage following a long period of distrust, mutual devastation, death, widows and orphans,” he said. “We need time to return the trust.”
Shalom said both sides had not yet agreed upon issues such as Jerusalem, borders and refugees, but emphasized the importance of a gradual move towards a permanent status agreement.
Meanwhile, Mulki said the peace process should be advanced, while simultaneously fighting terror.
The ministers also discussed the issue of Jordanian prisoners held in Israel. Shalom said it was still under discussion.
However, the Jordanian minister emphasized its importance to his country. He said he hoped the prisoners would be released and that the matter could be solved in the near future.
Mulki invited Shalom to visit Jordan in two weeks time.