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Cablegate: Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria/Uk, Syria/Israel,

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0618/01 1701329
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191329Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3728
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6896
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4599
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3247
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7740
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1828
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5156
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1363
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7480

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000618

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: Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria/UK, Syria/Israel,
Iraq (6/19)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on June 18 and 19 focused on the visits
to Damascus of the Kuwaiti Crown Prince and the UK Shadow Foreign
Secretary. The papers reported that President Assad on June 18

SIPDIS
received a message from the Kuwaiti Prince Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad
Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the latest developments in the region and
bilateral relations between the two countries. The message was
conveyed by Kuwait's Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah
in a meeting with President al-Assad. The message included an
invitation to President Assad to visit Kuwait. President Assad and
his guest discussed regional developments in Iraq, Lebanon, and
Palestine. Both sides underlined the importance of joint Arab action
in the light of the difficult circumstances the region is passing
through, a matter that requires intensifying efforts to realize
security and stability in Iraq, unity of the Palestinian people and
a Lebanese accord.

Syrian papers also reported that President Assad and Shadow Foreign
Secretary of the British Conservative Party William Hague reviewed

SIPDIS
current regional issues and the peace process in the Middle East
based on relevant international resolutions and the necessity of
achieving a just and comprehensive peace. Viewpoints were identical
on these issues. Both sides agreed to exchange visits and
viewpoints regarding bilateral relations and issues of mutual
concern.

Hague also met with Deputy PM Abdullah Dardary and FM Walid
al-Moallem. During the meeting, Moallem warned the West against
taking sides in the intra-Palestinian conflict, while Dardari called
upon British businessmen and investors to invest in all fields in
Syria.

The papers quoted a foreign ministry official source who said that
the Lebanese government is accusing Syria without providing any
evidence.

Syrian papers also reported that the Syrian President received a
message from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas regarding the
latest developments in the PA Territories. The message was presented
by Mr. Abbas Zaki to VP Farouk al Shara.

Papers also covered a meeting between Vice President Najah al Attar
and a delegation from the "US Anti-war on Iraq Academics
Organization." Attar discussed with them the academic relations
between institutes and research institutions in Syria and the US.
Syria's Ambassador to Washington, Imad Mustapha, who attended the
meeting, said that the delegation comprises a group of academics who
"feel ashamed of their government's policy in Iraq."

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"A message from President of the Palestinian National Authority
Mahmoud Abbas to President Bashar al-Assad" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 6/18)

"Vice-President al-Attar meets American delegation opposing the
invasion of Iraq" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 6/18)

"Olmert seizes the opportunity; Israel supports Abbas: Fayyad
heads an Emergency Government; the legislature warns of a coup
(government-owned al Ba'th, 6/18)

"President Assad receives a message from Prince of Kuwait and a
delegation of UK Conservatives (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/19)

"President Assad reviews with Shiekh Nawaf and William Hague
Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese issues and revival of the Peace
Process" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/19)

"Bush calls Abbas in support; Moscow asks Fayad government to talk
to Hamas" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/19)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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


"In order not to lose direction"

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

Omar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/19): "The US, Israel and the EU speak now of a Palestinian
partner for talks on the West Bank. The EU will resume its aid to
the Emergency government. Ehud Olmert affirmed on the eve of his
meeting with President Bush that the emergency government may give
the opportunity to resume negotiations in preparation for a peace
agreement, and that he is ready to hold regular talks with Abu Mazen
about the political horizon of what will become a permanent
agreement. Bush, for his part, affirmed in a phone call that he
will support Abu Mazen's policy. This gives of course an impression
that there is somebody who is pushing a wedge between Palestinians
and is going too far in the geographic division between Gaza and the
West bank, as if they were two separate issues...

"What is crystal clear is that the Palestinian cause is one cause
that cannot be divided. And what the US administration is promising
the Palestinians is nothing but going to the extreme in dividing
Palestinian unity, for the good of Israel only."

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

"Legitimacy a l'Arabian"

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

Ibrahim Darraji, a lawyer and Op-ed writer in independent al Watan,
wrote (6/19): "Some Arabs have rushed to take positions [regarding
the Palestinian issue] to market the political positions of some
parties. They met in Cairo last Friday, and, on the next day,
papers published articles and analyses that Arabs had reiterated
their support of legitimacy in Palestine and Lebanon. This is good;
no one is against legitimacy, and no one has an interest in
opposing it. But what is legitimacy? What is its criterion a
l'Arabian? In Lebanon, legitimacy for them is represented by the
government of Siniora and no one else...although it has became
illegal because it does not represent a major Lebanese sect and
because the President and the Speaker are boycotting it....

"In Palestine, we see the opposite: legitimacy is represented by
President Abbas and no one else, in confrontation with the
government and the Parliamentary majority. Nobody was able to
understand how Hamas, which obtained the confidence of the majority
of the Palestinian people, is considered illegal, only because it
opposed the Presidential Guard and other undisciplined security
forces....

It must be understood that what decides legitimacy of regimes in
most of our countries is not the polls or the will of the
peoples.... it is the White House and no one else, and nothing else.
Rulers remain legitimate as long as they fulfill US interests and
abide by US instructions.... They can also be rewarded by a war hug
from President Bush or a hot kiss on the cheek of Secretary Rice.
However, this will immediately end if they oppose US policies or if
they refuse to fulfill those policies that contradict the good of
their own countries. This is more than enough to be thrown out of
the US Eden and installed in the Axis of Evil."

Roebuck

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