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Cablegate: Syria/Portugal, Syria/Oman, Syria/France, Sharm Al-Sheikh

VZCZCXYZ0047
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0428/01 1281420
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081420Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3429
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6783
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4512
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3133
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7656
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1731
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5066
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1273
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7398

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000428

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA MDAVIDSON
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria/Portugal, Syria/Oman, Syria/France, Sharm al-Sheikh
Conference, Mouallem-Rice Meeting, Winograd Report, Iraq,
Palestinian Territories (5/8)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on May 8 reported meetings on May 7 by
President Asad and FM Mouallem with Portuguese FM Luis Filipe
Marques Amado. Talks dealt with Syrian/Portuguese relations, the
latest developments in the Middle East, the importance of boosting
the European Union's role in dealing with regional issues, and
Syria's relations with the European Union and means of boosting them
through mechanisms based on mutual confidence. The Portuguese FM
confirmed his country's intention, during its EU presidency next
month, to work to boost its relations with regional states to enable
it to play an active role in realizing security and stability in the
region.

On Syrian-Omani relations, papers reported President Asad's meeting
on May 7 with Omani Minister of Information Hamad bin Mohammad bin
Mohsen al-Rashedi. Both sides reiterated the importance of
intensifying Arab efforts, particularly in the media field, to
confront anti-Arab media campaigns.

Papers also reported President Asad's cable of congratulations to
Nicolas Sarkozy on his election as President of France. President
Asad expressed hope for improved relations between Syria and France
to serve the interests of the peoples of both countries.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad discusses Syrian-Portuguese relations and the EU
role in the region with Portuguese ForeQn Minister Luis Filipe
Marques Amado" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/8)

"President Asad confers with Omani Minister of Information Hamad bin
Mohammad bin Mohsen al-Rashedi.
President Asad reiterates the importance of intensifying Arab
efforts, particularly in the media field, to confront media which
harm Arabs and their just causes" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/8)

"President Asad congratulates Nicolas Sarkozy on his election as new
President of France" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/8)

"President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas calls on
Israel to accept Washington's security suggestions"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 5/8)

"Israeli FM Livni holds consultations on the possibility of resuming
peace talks with Syria" (Independent al-Watan, 5/8)

"Solana: The Winograd Report might change the political situation
in the region" (Independent al-Watan, 5/8)

"The EU: We support participation of Iraq's neighboring countries
in treating the situation in Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/8)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

---------------------------------------------

"A Call for Settling of Accounts "

---------------------------------------------

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (5/8): "In view of its enthusiasm in calling for the
Sharm al-Sheikh meetings, its participation in these meetings at a
high level, and its mobilization for their success, the Bush
Administration has presumably realized that the deteriorating and
catastrophic situation in Iraq cannot be resolved without a
comprehensive review of the foundations on which the occupation was
based. After that, the US Administration must review its past
stands, correct its mistakes, and make a connection among the issues
and problems of the region in order to reach comprehensive and
integrated solutions....

"At the same time, Syria believes that it is high time for the US
Administration to realize that its policies in the region and its


unlimited support for Israel exacerbates the situation and prevents
the resolution of the issues and problems of the region....

"Therefore, Syria calls for balanced and constructive dialogue with
the Americans and for US reasonableness in dealing with the
region...."
--------------------------------------

"Arab Reading of the Regional Scene"

--------------------------------------

Dr. Buthaynah Sha'ban, Expatriate Affairs Minister, commented in
government-owned Tishreen (5/8): "The United States, through the
Sharm al-Sheikh conference, wanted the international community to
bring it out of the bloody crisis in Iraq.... US officials talk
about security, border, and other issues without mentioning the real
reason behind the tragedies, namely, the US occupation of Iraq,
which is the reason behind all these bloody tragedies, which are a
real holocaust. This tragedy will end only when occupation troops
leave Iraq. Terrorism is a result of the war, and it came with the
occupation....

"The Sharm al-Sheikh conference represents an acknowledgement by the
US Administration that it has failed miserably to find an exit from
Iraq. But this acknowledgement has not reached the level of
admitting military and political defeat and replacing the policy of
arrogance, force, aggression, siege, and sanctions with a civilized
policy based on dialogue. Everything that has befallen Iraq is a
result of Bush's reckless war on this Arab country, which was safe
and stable before Bush's war brought the tribulations of occupation,
terror, killing, and torture of Iraqi civilians....

"The peoples of Palestine and Iraq are being subjected to collective
punishment that is in fact a major crime the Bush administration is
committing against their humanity. But the two Arab peoples will
not rest before they regain their freedom and sovereignty over their
land and resources...."

--------------------------------------------- -----

"Significance of the Winograd Commission's Report"

--------------------------------------------- -----

Muhammad Khair al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (5/8): "The Winograd Commission's report is an
explicit acknowledgement that Israel has failed to achieve its
political and military objectives....

"The report is a condemnation not only of Israeli leaders, but also
all those who played a secret or a public role in that war, from the
US administration, which was the main party that decided the war, to
the 14 February team in Lebanon, which took the side of the Israeli
aggression...."

Corbin

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