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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Asad/Annan, Syria/Qatar,

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O 191536Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2478
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6386
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4183
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2777
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7366
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4748
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0965
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7100

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 005318

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: Asad/Annan, Syria/Qatar,
Syria/PLO, Baker/Mouallem, European Peace Initiative, OIC Meeting
(11/17-19)


1. Summary: Syrian papers reported that President Asad received a
telephone call from UN SecGen Kofi Annan during which they reviewed
political developments in Lebanon and Iraq. Papers also reported
President Asad's meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad
Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani, who conveyed a letter from the Emir of
Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Talks dealt with
development of the intra-Palestinian dialogue and the necessity of
enhancing Palestinian national unity. President Asad also received
a telephone call from Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian
Authority, focusing on Palestinian developments and the
intra-Palestinian dialogue.

Papers also featured a New York Times report saying that former US
Secretary of State James Baker met with Syrian Foreign Minister

SIPDIS
Walid Mouallem in Washington in September to discuss cooperation
with the United States.

Papers also reported that Information Minister Mohsen Bilal met in
Madrid with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who
expressed hope that the peace initiative by France, Spain and Italy
will succeed, indicating that he will contact the foreign ministers
of the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and Germany to
acquaint them with the mechanisms and ideas that form the basis of
the initiative, which is scheduled to be proposed on Dec. 14 to the
European Union with the aim of reviving the peace process in the
region.

Papers also reported a meeting by the Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC) Executive Committee, which decided to break the
siege on Palestinians and to act on the international level to end
the siege. In their meeting on Nov. 18 in Jeddah, the OIC foreign
ministers called for actual commitment to the decisions of the OIC
summit with regard to boycott of Israeli companies. In their final
statement, the ministers condemned Israel for the massacre in Bait
Hanoun and for the ongoing slaughter of the Palestinian people. The
statement denounced the U.S. veto that blocked a UN Security Council
resolution on the massacre. Earlier, Syria's representative at the
meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad, read a statement
stressing that the message which should be sent by the meeting to
Israel and those who support its aggression and hinder international
legitimacy, is that such Israeli crimes will be punished
economically and politically. He underlined that the Israeli
occupation of Arab territories in Palestine, the Golan, and Shebaa
Farms is the main reason for the current violence in the Middle
East.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad receives a telephone call from UN SecGen Kofi Annan
on latest developments in Lebanon and Iraq" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 11/19)

"Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos: Syria is the most
important factor in the peace process in the Middle East"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/19)

"The Organization of Islamic Conference Executive Committee decides
to break the siege imposed on Palestinians and to act on an
international level to end the siege. Deputy Foreign Minister
Faisal Miqdad: Israel and those who support its aggression hinder
international legitimacy" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/19)

"Former US Secretary of State James Baker discusses the situation in
Iraq with senior Syrian Officials" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
11/19)
"President Asad receives a phone call from Mahmoud Abbas and a
letter from Qatar's Emir and reviews with Sheikh Hamad developments
in the Palestinian dialogue and coordination between Syria and
Qatar" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/18)
"An official source denies accusation that Syria is providing Somali
militia with arms" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/17)
"After failure to stop the missiles of the resistance, Israel adopts
harsher measures. Haniya: Israel rejected the European peace


initiative because Israel doesn't seek peace" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 11/8)
"Chairman of the Belgian Senate: Syria assumes an important and
main role in the Middle East. Spanish Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs Bernardino Leon briefs Minister Bilal on Spanish moves and
the European peace initiative" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/8)
"Al-Dari considers the memorandum of arrest illegal. The
government: It is an investigation, not an arrest. Bush: No
pull-out from Iraq; we benefited from Vietnam lessons"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/18)
"New scandal for February 14th team in Lebanon: Israel participated
in drafting the resolution on formation of international tribunal
for Al-Hariri assassination" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/17)

"Israel rejects the European peace initiative. Prodi calls on the
US administration to engage in dialogue with Syria"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/17)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:
----------------------
"The Enemies of Peace"
----------------------
Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, commented
(11/18): "Without any hesitation, Israel rejected the new European
peace initiative and considered it nonexistent.
"Israeli rejection, accompanied by American tepidity toward the
initiative, came so simply, before the content of the initiative was
seen and before Olmert's government received a copy.
"Three big European countries -- Spain, France, and Italy -- have
announced an initiative that is based initially on ending violence
and then reviving the peace process through an international
conference that might take a form different from that of the Madrid
conference 15 years ago. But the enemies of peace are trying to nip
this initiative in the bud, just as they tried to thwart the Madrid
conference before, during, and after its convocation....
"It is no exaggeration to say that peace causes alarm and panic
among Israelis, who will be unable to accept the idea of a just and
comprehensive peace so long as they build their policies and
positions on Talmudic myths that basically talk about a pure Jewish
state extending from the Nile to the Euphrates and about God's
chosen people, who must be the masters, while all other peoples on
earth are tools and slaves implementing the wishes of this people,
which God chose -- God forbid -- to rule, repress, kill, commit
vice, practice terrorism, and violate women and children, as written
in their Talmud....
"If Israel rejects even the initiative of its only strategic ally in
the world, should anyone be astonished that it rejects the European
initiative before learning its content?
"What is strange, however, is the claim by the Tel Aviv rulers that
they are peace advocates and that they are searching for a partner.
They say that it takes two to tango, as if they were at a party.
The unquestionable fact is that they are enemies of peace, advocates
of war and destruction, and undisputed leaders of terrorism.
"The ball is no longer in the Israeli court, as no one pins hopes on
the Israelis. The ball is in the European and American court. If
the EU and the sponsors of the new initiative are serious in their
endeavors to achieve peace and are eager to end the wars and
terrorism from which the region is suffering, they know who is
standing in the way of peace and who is rejecting the peace plans.
And they have the tools that enable them to defend their initiative
and a just and comprehensive peace.
------------------------
"Bolton Must Be Removed"
------------------------
Samir al-Shibani, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(11/18): "Many observers believe Rumsfeld's fall will mark the
beginning of the disintegration of neoconservatives, who fill the
world with chaos, wars, and tensions and violate all international
laws and conventions to establish their hostile empire even at the
cost of the death of millions of peoples and the destruction of many
countries, and even continents.
"In light of John Bolton's hostile attitude toward the United
Nations, which represents the whole world, Bolton's removal from his
post becomes more than necessary both for the American voter and for
every human on earth because his tenure threatens the civilized


human experience with a destructive setback...."
------------------------

"Is He still Optimistic?"

-------------------------
Dr. Sa'id Musallam, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (11/17): "US General John Abizaid said that he is still
optimistic that Americans are able to bring peace to Iraq....

"Abizaid asserted that the US Administration has no intention of
setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, despite Baker's
recommendations and Blair's advice.... This shows that calls for
dialogue with Iraq's neighbors to achieve stability in Iraq are
intended to help provide a safe environment for the stay of US
troops, reduce the painful blows they are taking, and minimize their
human losses....

"Iraq's neighbors work for a solution in Iraq outside the scenario
of the continuation of the occupation...."

Corbin

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