Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Assad
Photo: Reuters
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Photo: Louise Green

Syria rejects Livni's call to cut ties with Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas

Syrian government newspaper responds to Livni's demands that Syria disassociate itself from Iran, terror organizations; says any preconditions to peace deal would 'put carriage before horse'. Iranian FM: Golan belongs to Syria

A Syrian government paper rejected Israel's demand that Damascus should cut its ties with Iran and Arab terror groups as a condition for a peace agreement.


The state-run Tishrin wrote in Saturday's editorial that any preconditions to a deal would "put the carriage before the horse" and Syria's relations with other nations were not on the bargaining table.


Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also responded to Israel's demands in the first public statement made by the country regarding the negotiations between Israel and Syria. "The Golan belongs to Syria and should return to it," the Iranian Fars News Agency reported him saying.


In a press conference held in Tehran by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, Mottaki added that Iran believes that under the circumstances, Israel is not in a position to be quoting preconditions to Syria. "Despite the past 60 years, during which the Zionist regime has been attempting to increase its occupied land, at the current time it has no choice but to evacuate it."


Saturday's editorial in the paper, which reflects official policy, comes in response to comments two days earlier by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that Syria had to stop supporting Hizbullah and Hamas and cut ties with Iran.


"Israel's primary goal has always been peace with its neighbors. The Syrians have to understand that it entails giving up their support of terror (elements), namely Hamas, Iran and Hizbullah," Livni said at the onset of her Jerusalem meeting with French counterpart Bernard Kouchner on Thursday.


In response to Livni's statement, Syrian Information Minister Muhsin Bilal told al-Jazeera television that "when they (Israel) make these demands, they are setting conditions on the issue of peace, the peace process does not require prior conditions."


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also expressed his discontent at the talks between Israel and Syria to the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat on Friday. A source noted that Ahmadinejad referred to the developments as "a Damascus violation of the mutual commitments between Syria and Iran."


פרסום ראשון: 05.24.08, 12:34
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