Cablegate: Syria/Italy, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel/Palestinians (6/6)
DE RUEHDM #0553/01 1571248
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 061248Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
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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
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TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria/Italy, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel/Palestinians (6/6)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on June 6 reported President Asad's
meeting on June 5 with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Massimo Dalima focusing on bilateral relations and the
latest developments in Iraq, the occupied Palestinian territories
and Lebanon. Both sides stressed the necessity of cooperation to
find a solution to the Middle East crisis. They also conferred on
the possibility of building mutual work mechanisms to find solutions
for the current crises on the regional level. The two sides
underlined the significance of combating the terrorism that is
spreading in the region. Dalima affirmed the necessity of making
Syria part of the efforts to achieve peace and stability in the
region, stressing the importance of Syria's role on this issue.
In a joint press conference with FM Mouallem on June 5, Dalima
described his talks with President Asad as "very important,"
stressing that "this visit is a turning point for consolidated ties
between Syria and Italy to face challenges in the region."
"My country supports establishing a partnership Association between
Syria and the European Union and working to remove obstacles which
hinder realization of this Association," Dalima added.
The Italian Minister stressed the important and effective role of
Syria in solving problems in the region, saying, "We are convinced
it is not possible to solve issues in the Palestinian, Lebanese and
Iraqi arenas without Syria's participation."
He noted that Italy attaches great importance to the Arab peace
initiative, which "opens horizons for a comprehensive solution to
issues caused by the 1967 war", and that "the restoration of
occupied Golan is an essential point to achieve peace in the
Dalima expressed his country's readiness to help Lebanon avoid
terrorism and all that might destabilize Lebanon, and to encourage
dialogue among the Lebanese to find a way out of the current crisis.
"I'm optimistic about the possibility of cooperation between Syria
and Italy to find a solution to the problems occurring in Lebanon,
and help Lebanon avoid terrorism, which harms its security and
stability," Dalima said.
On the latest events in Lebanon and repercussions on the Italian
troops deployed within UNIFEL in South Lebanon, Dalima said, "We
have warned against the danger of infiltrating terrorist militants
into the Palestinian camps."
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad reviews bilateral relations and means of achieving
peace in the region and combating terrorism with Massimo Dalima,
Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Dalima: We are
convinced that there will be no solution in the region without
Syria. Foreign Minister Mouallem: He who accuses Syria of being
involved with Fatah al-Islam is concealing the real identity of
those behind this group" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/6)
"Israel studies the possibility of resuming peace talks with Syria"
(Independent al-Watan, 6/6)
"Clashes continue in Nahr al-Bared. Lebanese circles: The governing
team is responsible for all that is happening" (Government-owned
"Confessions by detained Fatah al-Islam fighters expose the
governing team's involvement with this group. The Lebanese army
tightens siege on Fatah al-Islam fighters. Nationalist Lebanese
figures warn against a conspiracy to export terrorism to Lebanon"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/6)
"President Lahoud: I will use my constitutional authority to
prevent Lebanon's drowning. They can kill me, but they cannot force
me to kneel" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 6/6)
"On the 40th anniversary of June 6 War, Abbas warns against a
Palestinian civil war. 82 Palestinians killed because of the
security lapse in the Palestinian territories" (Independent
"The Baghdad security plan faces some obstacles. 73 of Americans
believe that they are on the wrong path in Iraq" (Independent,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"To the Advocates of Justice"
Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/6): "Terrorism against the Palestinian people is an official
Israeli policy.... Those who claim to be fighting terrorism must
stop turning a blind eye to Israeli terrorist acts against
"So far the international community has failed to hold Israel
accountable for its crimes against humanity, as represented by the
occupation of Palestinian territories and the killing of innocent
people and the destruction of their homes....
"The criminal Israeli occupation has always been covered up by the
United States and Europe without any convincing reason, with neither
of them calling on Israel to end this explosive situation and
violation of UN resolutions and international law...."
"To Avoid Being Alone"
Ali Qasim, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawrah,
wrote (6/6): "With the increasing number of fatalities among US
soldiers in Iraq and the talk about an imminent British withdrawal
from that country, the crisis of the US Administration in Iraq is
becoming more obvious than ever....
"While US officials continue their obstinacy about the obvious
collapse of their plans in Iraq, we read some American statements
saying that victory in Iraq is becoming more and more difficult....
President Bush, who is seeing all those who pushed him to war
against Iraq, on the basis of lies and deception, fall one after the
other, might think of new arrangements to evade the moment of
confrontation with the truth when he finds himself alone in Iraq and
in the White House itself"
"Lebanon, between Nahr al-Bared and Ein al-Hilweh, Whereto?"
Khurshid Dalli, an editorialist in independent Al-Watan, wrote
(6/6): "No observer can separate the events in Nahr al-Bared from
what Lebanon has been witnessing since the al-Hariri
assassination.... The situation is becoming more serious in
Lebanon, with the clashes spreading to a second Palestinian camp and
the political crisis remaining without solution....
"Facts on the ground indicate that Lebanon is heading toward
internationalization and a repetition of the Iraqi experience....
What is the secret behind the urgent American military supplies to
Lebanon...? Who allowed the fundamentalist groups to grow in that
country...? The accusations that the governing team is leveling
against Syria strengthen the belief that what is happening is part
of a political plan to achieve already set objectives...."
"Cindy Sheehan and Our Causes"
Dr. Buthaina Sha'ban, Minister of Expatriate Affairs, wrote in
government-owned Tishreen(6/6): "Cindy Sheehan's resignation from
the Democratic Party was disappointing, because the American antiwar
activist was a beacon for all defenders of freedom and justice in
"But when I read her eloquent and expressive resignation letter, I
realized the magnitude of the problem she faced....
"Sheehan lost the support of Democrats after she resigned from the
party and made it clear that her opposition to the war was based on
ethical not partisan considerations.... No one in the United States
is allowed to change the criteria of the American system, as this
change would mean a change in the position toward the Arab region
and perhaps a completely different American policy, something that
neither of the two American parties is willing to do....
"Republican and Democratic presidential candidates make statements
in which they express full support for Israel and cast Arabs and
Muslims in a negative light.... Sheehan did a noble job and it is
her right to rest if she wants, but it is not our right to let what
she struggled for collapse and die. She has reached a very
important and sensitive point for herself and for us, and all
honorable people in the world must support one another and continue
the march, for the alternative is inhuman, unethical, and has no
future among nations that aspire to freedom, independence, and