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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Italy, Syria/Libya,

VZCZCXYZ0005
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #3177/01 1791317
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (508)
O 281317Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0039
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6066
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 3921
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2451
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7119
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1109
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4495
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0718
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6857

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 03177

SIPDIS


SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Italy, Syria/Libya,
Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Iraq (6/28)


1. Summary: Syrian papers today featured a statement by Italian
Journalist Stefanou Ciarini calling for more communication
between Syrian and Italian intellectuals to bridge the gap
created by 9/11 between the Islamic and Western civilizations.
"European governments are following the US policy represented by
the neo-conservatives who resist every approach between the West
and the East, exploiting this gap to dominate the world," Ciarini
said in an open dialogue with Syrian writers and authors
organized by the Arab Writers Union. He noted that extremism
exits everywhere, in different religious and political aspects.
"It is enough to hear the US Administration's words to know how
extremist they are," Ciarini added, pointing to the main role
Syrian and Italian intellectuals can play in combating all kinds
of extremism. About the work of journalists in Italy, he
underlined that a journalist can write as he wants but he may be
exposed to great pressure if he writes a story about a politician
or an important businessman, for example. "A journalist may be
denied promotion or be marginalized or even lose his job if he
writes about the Palestinian issue," he said, noting that Italian
journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories are exposed
to various kinds of Israeli pressure. Stefanou Ciarini is a
journalist for the Italian Paper 'Manifesto', and is well known
for defending Arab causes. He is a member of the Sabra and
Shatella Committee.

Papers also reported that Minister of Information Mohsen Bilal
conferred with Gouma Elmahdi Elfazani, the Libyan Ambassador in
Damascus. Their talks concentrated on agreements between Syria
and Libya for news and program cooperation and exchange of
expertise among media institutions. Both sides stressed the
importance of developing this cooperation for the improvement of
information and enhancing relations and coordination between the
two countries.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Information Minister Bilal to Kuwaiti daily Al-Anbaa: Syria gave
warning about against spread of terrorism, destruction and chaos
in Iraq; those [Lebanese] who want to open dialogue with Syria
must be serious and honest" (Government-owned Syria Times, 6/28)

"Israeli occupation continues its aggression in Gaza. One
Palestinian martyred, five injured. Israel threatens to
assassinate Palestinian leaders. Palestinian factions endorse the
amended 'Prisoners Document.' Israel rejects the document"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/28)

"A new session of the Lebanese National Dialogue will be held
tomorrow. No reports on proceedings and anticipated results. No
decision on the file of defense strategy. Continuing Lebanese
calls to persist in maintaining the arms of the resistance"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/28)

"Prodi: Italy is keen to develop relations with Syria"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/28)

"Italian journalist Ciarini, in a meeting with Syrian
journalists, calls for further rapprochement among civilizations,
free from the influence of politics" (Government-owned Tishreen,
6/28)

"Russia holds the US responsible for the killing of four Russian
diplomats in Iraq. Three US soldiers killed in Baghdad"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/28)

"Information Minister Bilal discusses media cooperation with
Gouma Elmahdi Elfazani, Libyan Ambassador to Syria" (Government-
owned TIshreen, 6/28)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Terrorism and Dialogue"


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

Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (6/28): "Have those who claim to be combating terrorism
asked themselves why they have failed in their reckless war
against terrorism...?

"The Bush Administration still refuses to acknowledge its
mistakes and that its war on terrorism has failed badly.... The
US policy has encouraged the emergence of terrorist groups that
did not exist before. All this is an outcome of anti-Arab and
anti-Islam US policies....

"The US, along with other world countries, can really combat
terrorism by collective action that must start with defining
terrorism and differentiating between it and the legitimate right
of resistance....

"An international consensus on combating terrorism cannot be
achieved without appropriate language, namely the language of
dialogue, which the Bush Administration has erased from its
dictionary.... The US Administration must adopt the language of
dialogue.... It first must acknowledge that killing children in
Palestine and Iraq is real terrorism."

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

"Syria's Doors are Wide Open"

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

Riad Zein, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/28): "Endeavors are being made to bring Syrian-Lebanese
relations back to normal.... But some Lebanese parties have lost
the compass to Damascus....

"President Asad was crystal clear when he called upon all
Lebanese officials participating in the National Dialogue to
unite ranks and be faithful to their own country and its true
interests.

"In an interview with London-based al-Hayat, the president called
for a united Lebanon that should have no room for local or
sectarian interests.... President Asad asserted that Syria has no
interest whatsoever in dividing Lebanon....

"President Asad welcomed any Lebanese leader, reiterating that
the doors of Damascus are wide open to settle any problem facing
Lebanon. The President warned against the game of 'border
demarcation, saying that the demarcation can start from the
north, not from the Shebaa Farms, which are still under Israeli
occupation. He also referred to Syria's agreement to establish an
Embassy in Lebanon, provided that it should not be imposed from
outside.

"Will reason and logic as well as real national interests govern
the drive of those skeptical Lebanese parties before they turn
into real losers?"

Seche

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