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Cablegate: Syria/Lebanon, Lantos, Iraq, Peace Conference (8/13)

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0825/01 2261313
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141313Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4027
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 7038
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4720
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3384
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7849
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1953
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5281
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1478
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7573

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000825

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/Lebanon, Lantos, Iraq, Peace Conference (8/13)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on August 13 reported a statement by
Kabalan Kabalan, Chairman of the Southern Lebanon Council on August
12 announcing that the Lebanese authorities started to execute a
project to rebuild houses in the Lebanese southern towns of Qana,
al-Qulaila and Seddiqin, destroyed by the latest Israeli aggression
on Lebanon last summer. The re-construction project is being
financed and implemented by Syria and expected to be completed after
6 months.
Papers also reported that the Syrian Jurists Association in Damascus
announced on August 12 the formation of a committee to defend the
Syrian workers rights in Lebanon. A statement made by the
Association said that the committee will be based on the Human
Rights Declaration approved by International and Arab labor
organizations. The statement condemned violations against Syrian
workers in Lebanon, calling on their families living in Lebanon to
report on any breaches in this regard in order to defend and protect
them.

Papers also featured a statement made on August 12 by Tom Lantos, a
Democrat and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US
House of Representatives, after talks with Israeli and Palestinian
leaders in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Lantos is reported to have
said that he sees little chance of a real breakthrough on a
Palestinian state, either at a US-sponsored conference this year or
before the end of President Bush's term. He is quoted as saying
"While I understand that some people in the (US) Administration
would like to see great achievements in the next few months, great
achievements will not be forthcoming," and "This is not a task that
a capable and committed Secretary of State can achieve in the time
that is left for this administration."

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Vice-President Al-Shara is to meet journalists tomorrow to review
the latest political developments in the region" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 8/13)

"Syria to Fund a project rebuilding damaged houses in South Lebanon"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/13)

"The Jurists Association forms a committee to defend Syrian laborers
in Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 8/13)

"Italian Prime Minister Prodi: Syria has a pivotal and active role
in the region" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/13)

"Five US soldiers killed in Iraq. A US report: Iraq is immersed in
waves of weapons" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/13)

"The Lebanese opposition is determined to proceed with its political
project: We will not accept a president chosen by the governing
team" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/13)

"Israel warns against a US-Russian deal on Iran's nuclear program"
(Independent al-Watan, 8/13)

"Lantos calls for maintaining Israeli supremacy: No chance to
establish a Palestinian state" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/13)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Imaginary Ideas. But!"

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

Ali Nasrallah, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(8/13): "Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Baraq said that the meetings
between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President
Mahmud Abbas are nothing more than public relations stunts and that
the idea of a Palestinian-Israeli agreement before five years from
now is fictitious....
Bush's ideas and the Roadmap plan are also fictitious ideas....

"It is strange that while the champions and promoters of these
distracting ideas soon reveal their true nature and abandon them,
some Arabs, regrettably, insist on adhering to and defending the lie
and the fictitious ideas although they do not have to do that....

"In fact, some Arabs, instead of supporting the Palestinian people
and trying to bring their political forces closer and to unify their
positions, play the role of the instigator by taking the side of one
party at the expense of the other parties. They directly help in
weakening and breaking Palestinian ranks. Why? Perhaps because
they find that defending lies and fictitious ideas appeal to them,
serve their personal interests, and protect their entities more than
defending and sticking to the just causes of their nation..."

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

"Bush's Autumn Meeting and Barak's Statement"

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

Muhyi-al-Din al-Muhammad, a commentator in government-owned
Tishreen, wrote (8/13): "We wonder what Arabs expect from the peace
meeting that President Bush has called for later this year....
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has stated that the Israeli army
will not withdraw from the West Bank before at least five years....

"If the Bush meeting in fall will be limited to the issue of peace
between Palestinians and Israelis, what will it produce when
Israel's leaders say publicly that they refuse to withdraw from the
West Bank...?

"Do Arab leaders who are enthusiastic about the Bush meeting in the
fall and who are betting on its results need more clarification than
Barak's clarifications? It is really regrettable that they need such
clarification because they seek nothing other than Bush's
satisfaction, even if he is in his political deathbed."

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

"Iraq Security and the Occupation's Responsibility"

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

Muhammad al-Khadir, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th,
wrote (8/13): "Syria has offered everything it can to control its
border with Iraq.... US accusations to Syria and other neighboring
countries over the situation in Iraq are worthless as they seek to
cover the miserable failure in that country....

"The occupation forces must shoulder their responsibilities as
stated in international agreements, and must seriously start
addressing the security situation through comprehensive political
solutions ensuring an end to the occupation and a timetable for its
withdrawal....

"Damascus plays an effective positive role in resolving all the hot
issues in the region despite the campaigns of pressure and
intimidation against Syria...."

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

"Indications of a New UN Role in Iraq"

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

Ahmad Dawwa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(8/13): "The United States agreed to give the United Nations a role
in Iraq in light of the US failure to achieve any political progress
in that country....

"The Bush administration has come to realize that Iraqis do not
trust Americans as a party working for political accord....

"In principle, allowing the United Nations to play a political role
in Iraq based on Resolution 1770, which the Security Council adopted
unanimously, opens the door, even if narrowly, toward a new horizon

for dialogue among the Iraqi parties, especially since the United
Nations enjoys confidence, unlike the occupation, which cannot be a
neutral party at all." "

"But the success of the United Nations in playing this role is
linked to its staying as far away as possible from the influence of
the occupation and to the amount of freedom that the occupation
grants the international organization....
"Any American interference in the form or content of this UN role
will lead to its failure and will harm the United Nations, which the
Iraqis partly blame for the occupation of Iraq and the arrival of
the country at this tragic situation."

Corbin

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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