Wallid Moalem
Photo: AP
Livni with the Emir of Qatar
Photo: Shahar Azran

Moallem denies meeting with Livni

Israel, Syria both deny al-Sinara report that their foreign ministers met at UN headquarters in New York. Moallem accuses Israel of spreading rumors, adds 'no such meeting will take place as long as Israeli occupation of Golan Heights and oppression of Palestinian people continue'

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on Thursday evening denied the report that he had met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at the United Nations headquarters in New York.


"Israel is spreading these rumors in the Israeli press," the Syrian minister told the Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera.


Moallem stressed in the interview that no meeting had taken place between him and the Israeli foreign minister, adding that no such meeting would take place "as long as the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and the oppression of the Palestinian people continue."


According to the report by Arab-Israeli newspaper al-Sinara, which was based on a senior Arab source, the meeting came after the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, surprised Livni with a proposal that she convene with the Syrian foreign minister at the UN headquarters in New York.


After consluting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Livni agreed to the meeting, which ended up lasting for over an hour. During thier meeting the two reportedly discussed tensions that have built up between the two countries, and the need to calm things down, the report said.


The Arab source said the meeting could be an opening for Qatari mediation between Israel and Syria, especially due to its proximity to the international peace conference set for November. According to the report, in his previous meeting with Moallem, the Qatari emir brought up the possibility of a meeting with Livni, and Moallem agreed.


The report said Moallem demanded clarifications on Israel's real stance, since he claimed that on one hand Israel continues to make calls for peace, while on the other, it infiltrates Syrian airspace.


The Arab source told al-Sinara that Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman and Syrian Ambassador to the US Mohammed Nassif, who was reportedly involved in setting up previous meetings between Moallem and US and Israeli officials, were also present at the meeting.


Livni's entourage in New York and Ambassador Gillerman also denied the report.


Tensions have risen between the two countries in recent weeks after foreign media reported an Israeli airstrike on Syria.


Earlier this week Syrian officials said in response to the reports, "After such a raid, you can forget about peace."


Nonetheless, Olmert expressed his hopes that "the tension will gradually diffuse, and the front returns to calm. We are certainly interested in that."


פרסום ראשון: 09.27.07, 21:24
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