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Cablegate: Amr Mousa, Syria/Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian

VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0717/01 1940903
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130903Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3861
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6944
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4639
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3288
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7771
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1867
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5191
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1403
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7512

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000717

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: Amr Mousa, Syria/Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian
Territories (9/10)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 10 reported the visit to
Damascus by Secretary General Amr Mousa and his meeting with
President Asad on July 9 focusing on regional Arab developments.
President Asad expressed support to the Arab League Secretary
General mission in Lebanon aiming at achieving accordance among
Lebanese parties in order to form a national unity government there.
Mousa briefed President Asad on the outcome of his visit to Beirut
and means to resume mediation efforts to find an accord formula to
the solution among Lebanese sides. Talks also dealt with the
situation on the Palestinian arena and the latest developments
regarding the Palestinian issue and the dangerous challenges to
which it is exposed. Viewpoints were identical on the necessity of
reviving the inter-Palestinian dialogue and realizing the
Palestinian national reconciliation, and the importance of
protecting the Arab solidarity in light of circumstances the Arab
nation is facing. In a press conference following his talks, SecGen
Mousa described his talks with President Asad, Vice President
al-Shara and Foreign Minister Mouallem as "very important." He
expressed satisfaction with the outcome of discussions describing
the current regional situation as "dangerous". On the Palestinian
developments, Arab League Chief underlined the importance of
national dialogue and the Palestinian national unity, expressing
belief "the Arab countries won't take any step that could support a
side at the expense of the other side, away of Palestinian
principles and the Palestinian people's rights."
As for Iraq, Mr. Mousa said "the Arab League seeks to realize
reconciliation among the Iraqi people on clear bases and according
to Arab League decisions regarding the Iraqi situation."

All papers reported a statement to Radio London on July 9 by Hisham
Yousef, Office Director of Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa,
saying that the Arab Peace Initiative is well-known and
internationally supported and that it was enlisted in several
international resolutions and thus there is no need to inform Israel
of it. Yousef said that "Israel must respond to the Arab Initiative
if it really has the desire to revive the peace process, which is
suspended because of Israel's stubbornness."

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad discusses the importance of supporting a national
unity government of in Lebanon and achieving Palestinian
reconciliation with Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa. Mousa:
Talks are very important" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/10)

"Syria supports the Arab League mission to form a national unity
government on the basis of Lebanese reconciliation. SecGen Mousa:
Talks are extremely important... We are satisfied with the
results... The situation is dangerous" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
7/10)

"The Arab League: The Arab initiative is supported internationally
and there is no need to inform Israel about it" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 7/10)

"Syrian-Iranian parliamentary talks. Speaker of the People's
Assembly al-Abrash: Syria and Iran are working to revive the
Organization of Asian Parliaments" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
7/10)

"With increasing pressure on the Congress and mounting Republican
split, the Bush Administration discusses the possibility of a
'gradual withdrawal' from Iraq" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/10)

"The Lebanese opposition threatens to make Lebanon a tomb for the US
project. Berri: Testimonies by thousands of ambassadors will not
give legitimacy to the governing team... Statements by French
Ambassador to Lebanon Bernard Emie are contradictory with the French
position. Former Minister Albert Mansur: An exposed and openly
agent government for Washington" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/10)

"L'Monde: Israel has blocked the Peace Process and is held
responsible for Palestinian destruction" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 7/10)


"The UNRWA warns against a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Israel
assassinates head of the Aqsa Brigades in Gaza" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 7/10)

"AFP: America faces real challenges in the region" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 7/10)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"A Reminder to the Bush Administration's Bodies"

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

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (7/10): "The American voices in the region, especially in
Lebanon, are mobilized these days and working with all their energy
against Syria, sometimes by directing charges and at other times by
distorting facts.

"They direct charges first by suspicious voices and words. They
then begin to fit the strings of the crime to these charges. Since
they lack morals, taboos do not mean anything to them. They are not
embarrassed by contradictions and facts on the ground refuting their
statements. The main thing to them is to speak and unleash
accusations as required by Washington....

"Judging from experience, this shouting against Syria is not a
surprise to it or the people of the region. It indicates first and
foremost that the American dilemma is deepening, not just in Iraq
and Lebanon, but also in the entire region, and that this
administration wants to cover its failures before the home front,
which is fed up with the Bush-Cheney adventures and now demands its
isolation and the restoration of some credibility to US foreign
policy.

"As for Syria, it considers the fabrications by these people as a
certificate of good conduct for it before the Arab citizen because
it does not want their praise in the first place or come anywhere
near them. It is also not concerned with them in one way or
another.

"Even the American home front views these people with disdain and
disapproves of their drift behind the Bush administration and its
defense while the majority of the Americans want to isolate it and
disown its wars, interferences, and seditions and tells everyone:
This is the worst US Administration....

"It is essential to remind the Bush administration's bodies in the
region that this administration is not satisfied with pressuring
Israel so as not to resume the peace talks, but also pushes it to
wage wars. This was what happened last July against Lebanon and what
may happen in the future if the Bush administration continues with
its stubbornness and recklessness...."

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

"Peace Is Key to Stability"

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

Ahmad Suwwan, a columnist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/10): "A solution to the Middle East problem must begin with
Israel's full withdrawal from all the occupied territories: The
Golan, Sheba Farms, Kafr Shuba hills, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip,
and Jerusalem....

"Israel, along with the United States and known Western forces, do
not want a solution. Rather, they want domination, hegemony, and
confiscation of the national, Arab, and regional decision in favor
of their influence....

"When Syria reasserts that it is part of the solution, this means it
wants everyone, especially the United States and the European

countries, shoulder responsibility to achieve security, stability,
and peace in the region. When it adds its effort to the efforts of
all those who want to save the region from destruction, wars, and
seditions, Syria proceeds from its determination to use all its
resources, potentials, status, sound policy, and sincere method to
make a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region...."

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

"Hot Summer... and Peace"

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

Khurshid Dalli, an editorialist in independent al-Watan, wrote
(7/10): "The conflicting Israeli statements regarding war and peace
with Syria show that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not
care about peace except to the extent it helps Israel impose a
settlement by force on Arabs....

"The stalemate in the peace process in the Middle East pertains to
the absence of a US role.... On the contrary, Washington is
preventing Israel from holding negotiations with Syria because its
chief concern is to force Damascus to change its skin....

"The absence of a strong leader in Israel and the absence of an
American decision to achieve peace on the Syrian track open the door
wide for the talk about a hot summer, especially if this helps
Israel regain the prestige it lost in the July aggression against
Lebanon last year....

"But Olmert's problem is that he knows well that the situation in
the region has changed after Israel's failure in the July aggression
and that there is no longer war with guaranteed results, especially
amid reports that Syria has a highly powerful missile capability for
both deterrence and assault. This drives Israel to think again of
an option other than war, which is peace, especially since the war
option might cost Israel more than the price of peace with Syria,
which is withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan in return for a
comprehensive peace bringing stability and security to the
region...."

Corbin

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