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'Syria coordinated absence from Annapolis with Iran'

Syrian MP says Damascus won't act against interests of its 'true allies' for what Americans are promising in return. However, Syria may be holding out for improved conditions; yet to make official announcement

Syria is Iran's ally and it coordinated its refusal to attend the Annapolis peace conference with Tehran, Syrian Member of Parliament Mohammad Habash said on Thursday.


In an interview with the Israeli-Arab publication Kul al-Arab, Habash provides the first official statement from Damascus crushing hopes that Syria will attend the US-led summit next Tuesday.


Earlier this week, unsubstantiated reports in the London-based Arab media claiming that, barring a major change in the conditions, Syria had no intention of taking part in the talks at Annapolis.


For the time being however, Syrian officials continue to hold talks with various international figures as Western nations pursue their coveted participation


"Syria cannot work against its true allies for the carrots America is offering," said Habash, one of Syria's most prominent and vocal politicians.


"All signs point towards this conference failing to provide any new opportunity for the Palestinian people. And as for the Golan Heights, the matter is not on the summit agenda. And so therefore I believe that a Syrian representative at Annapolis would be there as a false witness," the MP said.


Several days ago, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem paid a visit to his Iranian counterpart in Tehran. Among other things, the two discussed the upcoming peace conference. It stands to reason that Habash's pronouncements are based on understandings between the foreign ministers.


"There is an alliance stretching from Tehran to Gaza and it is the only thing that stands against the Zionist-American arrogance," said Habash when asked if Syria was directly coordinating its positions with Iran.


Meanwhile, the official Syrian news agency reported that President Bashar Assad spoke on the phone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and that the two discussed the peace summit, as well as the situation in Lebanon. The two leaders agreed to continue their consultations.


Syria was invited this week to attend the US-sponsored peace conference, along with more than 40 countries and organizations across the world. The summit will be held on November 27 in Annapolis, Maryland.


Senior Syrian officials told the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat that Damascus was waiting for the results of the final talks it is holding, in a bid to make the Golan Heights issue part of the conference's agenda.


"The signals received so far regarding the conference are negative," the sources said.


פרסום ראשון: 11.22.07, 20:16
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