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FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
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UNCLAS DAMASCUS 005343
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, DBENZE AND AFERNANDEZ,
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Cyprus, Med-Euro
Ministerial, Syria/Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, France (11/28)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on Nov. 28 reported President Asad's
meeting on Monday with Dimitris Hristofyas, Speaker of the Cypriot
Parliament, focusing on the situation in the region and bilateral
Papers also reported Syrian FM Mouallem's participation in the
Med-Euro Ministerial Conference being held in Tambera, Finland.
Headlines cited a statement by FM Mouallem confirming that the
desired progress of the Barcelona Process requires the realization
of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East in accordance
with UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference
and the land-for-peace principle. Mr. al-Mouallem's remarks came
during consultations held between Ministers of the Arab Group and
the European Troika Ministers on the margins of the conference. The
Ministers reviewed progress since last year's summit, marking the
10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process. On Nov. 27, on the
margins of the conference, Mr. al-Mouallem also met EU High
Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier
Solana, with whom he discussed the situation in the Middle East.
Both sides agreed on the necessity of activating the European role
in order to realize a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
On Turkish-Syrian relations, papers reported that Turkish Deputy
Premier, State Minister Abdullatif Sener, will arrive in Damascus on
Nov. 28 on an official visit, together with a technical and economic
delegation. During the visit, Mr. Sener will hold talks with Syrian
officials on cooperation between Syria and Turkey and development of
ties in the economic, investment and development fields.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad reviews the situation in the region and
parliamentary relations with Cypriot Parliament Speaker Dimitris
Hristofyas. Hristofyas: The meeting was open and frank"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/28)
"Foreign Minister Mouallem discusses the importance of activating
the European role in Middle East peace process with Javier Solana,
EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, at
the Med-Euro ministerial conference being held in Tambera, Finland.
Mouallem reviews with his German, Danish, Dutch, and Macedonian
counterparts the situation in the region" (Government-owned
"General Secretariat of the International Arab Trade Unions
Federation condemns the aggression against Syrian workers in
Lebanon. The Union calls upon the General Trade Union in Lebanon to
shoulder responsibility and defend Syrian workers in Lebanese
"TQ Lebanese army arrests scores of Jaja's forces during military
training in Kisrawan. Berri: The governmenQhas violated the
National Accord. Aoun: The governing mafia has demolished and
wasted the homeland with misleading campaigns" (Government-owned
"France and Israel spy on Lebanon through the UNIFIL forces"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/28)
"Information Minister Dr. Mohsen Bilal renews condemnation of the
assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Jumayyil.
Bilal: Charges against Syria are in implementation of foreign
orders" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/28)
"The Baker team recommends direct talks with Syria and Iran"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/28)
"Crash of an F-16 jetfighter near Baquba. A French intelligence
agent is killed in Basra. Democrats and Republicans: A gradual
withdrawal from Iraq and pressure on the al-Maliki government"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/28)
"Abdullatif Sener, Turkish Deputy Premier and State Minister,
arrives in Damascus on an official visit to Syria along with a
technical and economic delegation" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
"The UN Human Rights Council calls on Israel to withdraw from the
occupied Golan and to halt settlement activities in the Golan and
the occupied territories" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/28)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Intersection of Interests"
Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, a columnist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (11/28): "The assassination of Lebanese Industry
Minister Pierre al-Jumayyil must be seen as a political crime
masterminded by several parties that have an interest in keeping
Lebanon within the cycle of tension and preventing the national
opposition from correcting the country's domestic situation, after
it became clear to the Lebanese people that the February 14 team is
deeply involved in the American-Israeli-Western scheme that seeks to
turn Lebanon into a new base for the implementation of the new or
broad Middle East plan after its collapse in Iraq as a result of the
rejection and resistance of the Iraqi people....
"The parties that stand to gain from the crime and its timing are
Israel, the governing team in Lebanon, and the foreign powers that
pushed Israel to launch its aggression against Lebanon but found
that the aggression resulted in a bitter defeat for them and for
"The Lebanese people realize very well that the party that
assassinated Pierre al-Jumayyil was the same party that assassinated
Al-Hariri and committed all the subsequent assassinations. It is
the party that wanted through all these crimes and through the
Israeli aggression to isolate Lebanon from its nationalist role and
Arab affiliation and turn it into a den for conspiracies against
Syria and the Arab causes...."
"In the Repercussions of the Crisis"
Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (11/28): "The governing coalition in Lebanon is using
al-Jumayyil's assassination to obstruct the popular activities of
the nationalist opposition and to maintain its monopoly on power,
instead of searching for a genuine national political partnership,
shouldering the responsibility of construction and social and
economic development, and confronting foreign interference in
domestic Lebanese affairs....
"The government team persists in aggravating mistakes and increasing
tension in Lebanon. This situation entails real dangers, especially
since there are indications that what is happening is linked to
foreign interference, particularly by the US and the Mossad...."
"The Godfather Bolton and his Advocates"
Dr. Khalaf al-Jarrad, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen,
commented (11/28): "John Bolton is well-known for his fanatical
support for Israel, his desperate defense of Israel's expansionist
policies and constant aggression and flagrant terrorism against the
Palestinian and Lebanese people, and his hatred of Arabs and
"There is coordination between the US representative to the United
Nations and the February 14 group in Lebanon.... This coordination
is evidenced in the miraculous coincidences between assassinations
in Lebanon and Security Council meetings and prefabricated
"Bolton manifested serious hysteria when the national Lebanese
resistance heroically confronted the all-out Zionist aggression
against Lebanon, which was fully coordinated with the United States.
He lost his mind when the valiant resistance achieved a great
victory. He began pressing his followers in Lebanon daily to act to
disarm and uproot the resistance in implementation of a strategy
that the Zionist army failed to implement through its direct
aggression. But the mission was too big for them, so they turned to
the story of the international tribunal, relying on the full support
of their friend and ideal in racism, hatred, and fanaticism -- John
"When the tribunal faced a problem at the Security Council, 'hidden
hands' solved it through the assassination of Pierre al-Jumayyil.
However, the Lebanese people are aware of this game and are able to
smash all the conspiracies and schemes that seek to ignite civil
strife and separate Lebanon from its Arab family...."
"To be a President of France"
As'ad Abbud, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(11/28): "It is regrettable not to see in President Jacques Chirac
a De Gaullist leader who can contribute to world balance, a leader
who rises above trivialities and rejects forging personal alliances
to serve private or limited interests....
"The whole world is now talking about dialogue with Syria.... What
prevents France from holding such a dialogue...?
"I personally find it inappropriate for Chirac to become a party in
Lebanon, befriending this and antagonizing that. He could have
played a role to bring Lebanon out of its impasse, which is far more
important than devoting efforts to stop the transmission of Al-Manar
Television, accusing people based on their identities, passing
judgments before investigations end, and so on....
"As for us, President Chirac, we Syrians who often loved you hope
that you will abandon personal positions. On what basis do you open
Paris to a person who, for almost every Syrian, is the symbol of
corruption -- Abd-al-Halim Khaddam? Why does Paris cover the lies
of a witness like [Muhammad Zuhayr] al-Siddiq? And why does France
remain silent about the truth in the killing of Pierre