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Cablegate: Syria/Japan, Syria/Italy, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon,

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0638/01 1780430
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270430Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3756
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6905
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4604
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3254
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7744
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1835
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5161
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1367
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7484

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000638

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/Japan, Syria/Italy, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon,
Iraq, Sudan (6/26)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on June 26 reported President Asad's
meeting on June 25 with Japanese First Deputy Foreign Minister Katso
Hito Asano, who conveyed a message from Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe to President Asad on bilateral relations and means of
enhancing them, particularly on the economic level. Talks also
touched upon current regional developments. The Japanese delegation
stressed Syria's important role in preserving stability in the
region.

Papers also reported President Asad's meeting on June 25 with
Lamberto Dini, Chairman of the Italian Senate Foreign Relations and
Expatriates Committee. They discussed regional developments,
stressing the significance of realizing a just and comprehensive
peace based on international resolutions and the return of the
occupied Golan, as well as the role of Italy and Europe in solving
the region's issues. Dini reiterated the importance of Syria's role
in cementing stability of the region. Dini also held talks with FM
Mouallem and VP Shara on June 25, at which he stressed the
importance of dialogue and communications with Syria to tackle
regional issues.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad receives a message from Japanese Prime Minister Abe
on boosting Syrian-Japanese relations.
President Asad discusses latest regional developments and the peace
process with an Italian Senate delegation" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 6/26)

"Violent clashes in Nahr al-Bared. Two Lebanese soldiers fall as
martyrs in the events" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/26)

"Lebanese opposition heads towards a national front. Lahoud: I
will not allow a continuing constitutional vacuum" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 6/26)

"Suicide bomber targets a meeting of tribal leaders in Baghdad"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/26)

"The Sharm el-Sheikh meeting confined to exchange of good
intentions" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 6/26)

"Olmert release 250 Fateh prisoners. Abbas considers Olmert a
partner" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/26)

"Paris Conference on Darfur opens in the absence of Sudan and the
African Union. Indications of US and French conspiring. Beijing
urges sending positive and balanced signals" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 6/26)

"British Prime Minister Blair is to be appointed special envoy for
the International Quartet Committee" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
6/26)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"A Call for Dialogue and Reconciliation"

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

Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (6/26): "Israel and the US administration are the
only parties benefiting from the political crisis in the Palestinian
territories. The loser is the Palestinian cause and the
achievements that the Palestinian people have scored throughout
their struggle to regain their rights and occupied land. The
infighting and rifts in Palestinian ranks have offered a gratuitous
service to the American-Israeli alliance and its plans to liquidate
the Palestinian cause....

"Palestinians must be aware of the dangers of the American-Israeli
role and its malicious objectives.... They must return to dialogue

and implement the understandings and agreements reached in Damascus
and Mecca to achieve a solid national accord and unity...."

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

"To Remove Marks of their Crimes"

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

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (6/26): "The White House theoreticians are working to expand
the scope of their aggressions and interferences in the Arab region
in an effort to remove the marks of their crimes in Iraq and
Afghanistan....

"Developments in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon are parts
of the brazen US maneuvers.... Why all the US rush to support one
Palestinian party against another? Why all the US interference in
Lebanese affairs, that reached the point of US Ambassador Feltman
criticizing the Arab mediation effort...?

"Arab peoples are fully aware that American hands are tampering with
the region's affairs and resources....

"Stubbornness does not score victories, and everyone knows that the
Bush administration has been defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan and
that the attempts to expand the circle of aggression to remove the
marks of the crimes will not succeed, as is obvious, especially
since everyone knows what the Bush administration is doing and
planning...."

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

"Playing on Contradictions"

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

Umar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/26): "The promises of political and financial support for the
Palestinian Authority are meant to entrench Palestinian rifts and
distract the Palestinians with permanent debates and marginal issues
to give Olmert's government more time to evade the requirements of
peace and complete its plan to Judaize Jerusalem and other areas in
the West Bank....

"Palestinians must be alert and must read well all their bitter
experiences of the past and the present."

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

"Olmert and Bush, a Meeting of Disappointment"

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

Dr. Jihad Bakfaluni, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (6/26): "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to the
United States was a big failure....

"Both Olmert and President Bush are in bad situations, with each
suffering physical and psychological crises....

"The Olmert-Bush meeting was the meeting of disappointment, where
the two wanted to vent the failures and setbacks that are growing
more complicated and are weighing heavily on them. Iraqis will not
relent in their confrontation with the American invader until he
leaves in defeat and humiliation. And Palestinians will not support
the trend of humiliation and capitulation, the trend that allows the
Zionists to engage in killing, destruction, and violation of all
taboos whenever and however they want...."

Corbin

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