Muallem - Talks positive
Photo: AFP
Mashaal - Confident
Photo: AFP

Damascus 'backs' Hamas-Israel truce

Syrian foreign minister says regime supports Gaza ceasefire agreement. 'We are waiting to see whether the Israelis are going to fulfill their part of this truce,' says Minister Muaellem. Meanwhile Hamas remains unconcerned about Syria's loyalty

Syria said Wednesday it supported a truce between Hamas and Israel, calling on the latter to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.


"We support this agreement. We support the lifting of the boycott of Gaza, and we hope and we are waiting to see whether the Israelis are going to fulfill their part of this truce," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said.


Israel confirmed Wednesday it had agreed to a truce in and around Gaza, but at the same time showed little enthusiasm for the Egyptian-brokered deal with Hamas, which it boycotts as a terror group.


Muallem also said Syria and Israel were preparing for a new round of indirect peace talks after what was described as successful contacts in Turkey over the weekend, but gave no further details.


The minister was speaking during a visit to India by President Bashar al-Assad, who arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday on the first visit by a Syrian head of state to India in two decades.


Later addressing Indian businessmen, Assad said Syria's "commitment to reform and economic liberalization" was being affected by the situation in the Middle East.


But he said "the indirect talks between Syria and Israel and the recent Doha agreement which has provided a tangible step towards national reconciliation in Lebanon, gives us reason to be optimistic about the future of our region."


"Only peace and stability will ensure sustainable development and long-term prosperity for our region and the world."


Hamas: Syria won't cut ties for Israel peace

Hamas is confident Syria will not bow to Israeli pressure to cut ties with the Palestinian Islamist group to clinch a peace deal, exiled Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal said.


"Israel has a tactic of trying to push Syria away from its allies and the Palestinian issue but this is a game," he said during an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.


"The Syrians have said, officially and at the top levels, that their efforts and determination to return the Golan will not come at the expense of the Palestinians or Syria's ties and contacts. We trust the Syrian position."


The United States has also long demanded that Damascus severe its ties to Hamas and Hizbullah.

Assad has dismissed Israeli demands that the country abandon its alliance with Iran and groups like Hamas and Hizbullah as a requirement for peace.


"It is not Israel 's right to set conditions for the Syrians or any Palestinian or Arab state," he said.


"A wrong and aggressive move was made to occupy Palestinian and Arab land and ... Israel can reverse this wrong move by withdrawing."


פרסום ראשון: 06.18.08, 14:57
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