Damascus, Asharq Al-Awsat- Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that Damascus and Riyadh agreed at the Syrian-Saudi summit on “the need to exert more efforts to encourage the Lebanese to step up their dialogue to form a national unity government.”
Describing King Abdullah Bin-Abdulaziz’s visit to Damascus early this month as successful, Al-Muallem said it focused on developing and boosting bilateral relations in terms of “political consultation and economic issues.”
He added that agreement was reached to hold a Syrian-Saudi investment conference in spring next year, in addition to an agreement under which Riyadh will extend a $1billion loan to Damascus to implement development and electricity projects.
Al-Muallem was speaking at a meeting that he held with European ambassadors in Damascus.
Asharq al-Awsat learned that Al-Muallem summoned European ambassadors in Damascus to discuss with them the Israeli aggressions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Muallem emphasized “the seriousness of these measures because of their great effects on the Islamic and Arab worlds.” He pointed out that these measures are part of a plan to Judaize the City of Jerusalem.
Al-Muallem denounced “Israel’s continuation of the building of settlements, its blockade of Gaza, and its rejection of the Goldstone report and the Human Rights Council’s decision on the report.”
He asked: “Why does Israel do this without paying attention to the will of the international community and obligations of the international law?” He also asked: “Why does it feel that it is immune from any accountability for these violations?”
Expressing his regret, Al-Muallem told the European ambassadors: “Some European states’ abstention from positively voting in favor of the Goldstone report at the Human Rights Council and the lack of clear European stands toward Israeli violations render the current efforts to achieve peace useless because the practical stands are inconsistent with these efforts.”
Al-Muallem told the ambassadors: “Some European states’ interest in and commitment to human rights is now questionable after these states refrained from voting at the UN Human Rights Council.”
Discussing Syrian-Turkish relations, Al-Muallem said: “The Syrian and Turkish leaderships are determined to boost this trust toward a strategic partnership.” He added: “Politically, we have good coordination and economically, we are working to double the volume of trade exchange and encourage joint projects.”
Al-Muallem referred to the two countries’ cooperation in the water and agricultural sectors. He also referred to “cooperation between Damascus and Ankara in the fight against terrorism and to the importance of the cancellation of entry visas for Syrian and Turkish citizens.”
Al-Muallem expressed his country’s regret over the human losses and damage that the Iraqis suffered as a result of the latest bombings. He renewed Syria’s condemnation of these bombings because they are “terrorist and criminal acts.”
Al-Muallem voiced “his hope that Iraq will find the necessary means to achieve national reconciliation, which Syria believes is the basis of Iraq’s stability.”