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Cablegate: Peace Process, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories,

VZCZCXYZ0022
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0778/01 2121318
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311318Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3953
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 7000
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4685
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3344
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7814
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1916
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5243
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1445
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7555

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000778

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: Peace Process, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories,
Rice's Tour/US Aid to Israel (7/31)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 31 reported FM Mouallem's
meeting on July 30 with Norwegian Foreign Minister Special Envoy for
Middle-East Affairs Sven Sevje. Discussion centered upon recent
developments in the Middle East and efforts to revive the peace
process. FM Mouallem expressed Syria's keenness to establish a just
and comprehensive peace in the region and to preserve the unity of
the Palestinian people, calling on the Palestinian parties to return
to dialogue in order to end the current crisis and establish an
independent Palestinian state. Sevje confirmed his country's
interest in reviving the peace process in the Middle East according
to international law, stating that Norway supports the Arab Peace
Initiative. He also reiterated Syria's important role in achieving
security and peace in the region.

Papers also reported Spanish FM Miguel Angel Moratinos' arrival to
Damascus on July 30 as part of his Mideast tour that took him to
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon. After a visit to the
politically-stricken Lebanon, Moratinos is scheduled to meet
President Asad, VP Shara and FM Mouallem to discuss bilateral
relations and means to solve Lebanon's political quandary. While
still in Beirut, Moratinos had pledged his country's keenness to
offer necessary support to help reach a solution for Lebanon's
political crisis, foreseeing aspects of a solution satisfactory by
all powers.

As for the Arab League extraordinary ministerial meeting held in
Cairo on July 30 to discuss President Bush's call for an
international conference on Middle Ease peace, papers reported that
Syrian Representative to the Arab League Yussef Ahmed, who led the
Syrian delegation at the meeting in absence of FM Moualem, showed
reservations about Bush's initiative as unsuitable for the time
being in light of inter-Palestinian divisions and splits. Failure
to resolve the current Palestinian situation will lead to the
liquidation of the Palestinian issue, he said, calling for a
resolution on Arab commitment towards Palestinian reconciliation and
national unity as well as territorial integrity in the West Bank,
Eastern Jerusalem and Gaza. Lengthy discussions were held over the
Syrian call, with the Arab foreign ministers having failed to come
up with a relevant resolution, he said. "They wanted to bypass this
issue. So, we showed our reservations about failure to adopt a
resolution," he said.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Spanish FM Moratinos in Damascus after marathon meetings in
Lebanon" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/31)

"FM Mouallem reviews efforts to revive the peace process with the
Norwegian envoy" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/31)

"Syria expressed reservations and did not withdraw from the Arab
League Ministerial in Cairo; Arab FMs met to discuss the outcome of
the Arab Peace Initiative and ended up approving the Bush
initiative; Bush's call is for peace or to dedicate division?!"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/31)

"The reality of the Syrian position at the Arab Foreign Ministers
Conference: It is too early to welcome an initiative that is still
unclear. Mousa: Syria is an essential party at any conference.
Basiti: The peace process must be activated as whole"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/31)

"European move to encourage dialogue. US pressure to sabotage
dialogue. Kouchner's statements reflect French concern regarding
the US and the Saudi positions on Lebanon" (Independent al-Watan,
7/31)

"Lebanese nationalist powers: The governing team is opening fire on
initiatives" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/31)

"Seven Palestinians wounded by an Israeli air raid against the
Maghazi refugee Camp. Russia recommends a dialogue between Hamas
and Fateh. Hanieh welcomes" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/31)

"The crisis between the Reconciliation Front and the Maliki
government aggravates. US troops will remain in Iraq until mid
2009. Death toll among US forces reaches 3,651" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 7/31)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"The New Middle East Plan Is Already Dead"

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

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (7/31): "In light of the American defeat in Iraq and the
Israeli defeat in Lebanon last year, the new Middle East plan, which
the US administration was working hard to implement, has died....

"Things are heading toward the East that the peoples of the region
want, an Arab East that is free from Israeli and American
occupations and hegemonies, the East that can confront challenges
and fulfill the ambitions of the peoples of the region. The
American Middle East, on the other hand, will remain dead....

"But Israel and the United States are still preparing for new
political and military rounds in the region and pushing toward
tension and confrontations in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon.... US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's Middle East tour comes within

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this context.... Rice's tour coincided with the announcement that
the United States will increase its military aid to Israel.... This
shows how the US Administration deals with the issues of the region
and raises many questions about the usefulness of the determination
of some Arabs to rush toward the United States and give it more than
it asks for with regard to the defeat in Iraq and Lebanon....

"Yet, everything proves that there is absolutely no chance for the
success of these new American tours. The opposition to US plans has
become stronger and the situation has changed. Everything on the
ground says that the American era in the region is over."

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

"Partnership in Aggression"

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

Umar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/31): "The announcement that the United States pledged to
increase its military aid to Israel and maintain Israel's military
superiority over all the countries of the region shows that
President Bush is determined not to end his term in office before
completing his colonial plan in the region in all its aspects and
burdening the American citizen with the consequences of wrong
policies that have brought nothing but the indignation of the
nations of the world and further outrage against US policy, which
totally evades every legal or ethical logic in its approach to the
world....

"The American pledge threatens more aggression, new thuggish acts,
and further Israeli defiance of the UN resolutions and all human
rights laws and conventions....

"The US Administration, through this step, proves that it persists
in harming the peoples of the region and intends to impose hegemony
and implement hostile schemes, not to push the region toward a just
and comprehensive peace....."

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

"A Mysterious Invitation"

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

Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, a commentator in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (7/31): "The American delegation's vote against a
resolution by the UN Economic and Social Council calling for the

revival of the Middle East peace process on the basis of Resolutions
242 and 338 and stressing the permanent sovereignty of nations under
occupation, proves that US President George Bush's call for an
international conference on Middle East peace lacks seriousness and
credibility....

"The American call for the conference is a political tactic meant to
cover the failure that haunts the American policy in the region,
from Iraq to Palestine to Lebanon to every place in which the US
Administration has tried to interfere....

"The conference will be doomed to failure because it lacks clear
terms of reference and an honest sponsor."

Corbin

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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