Monday, December 20, 2004

Syria must follow Palestinians to Peace, Bush says

The US is weighing whether to punish Syria with further sanctions according to Washington Officials quoted by the Jerusalem Post. On Friday, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the US commander in Iraq, said the Iraqi insurgency was being run in part by former senior Iraqi Baath party officials who "are operating out of Syria with impunity and providing direction and financing for the insurgency." He acknowledged that Syria has increased its efforts to patrol its border with Iraq. "But they are not going after the big fish, which is really the people that we're interested in," he said.

"It's clear we are heading into some kind of confrontation with Syria unless the Syrians reverse their policy," a senior government official told The Jerusalem Post.

Syria must wait until after an Israel-Palestinian agreement, Bush says.

19 December 2004

JERUSALEM - Syria will have to wait to resume peace negotiations with Israel until after a settlement is reached with the Palestinians, US President George W. Bush said in comments published on Sunday.

“Now Assad needs to wait: first peace between Israel and Palestine, and then we’ll see what to do with Syria,” Bush told a correspondent from the Yediot Aharonot daily during a White House reception.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recently offered to reopen negotiations with Israel which stalled five years ago over the status of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau occuped by Israel since 1967.

However Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has reacted cooly to Assad’s overtures, instead focusing his energies on next year’s pullout from the Gaza Strip.

Bush also echoed recent comments by Sharon as he voiced optimism about the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming year.

“This next year is very important because it is going to lead to peace. I not only believe that, I also know that it’s going to happen,” he said.

“Sharon has understood that. It is very important that the Palestinians understand as well that peace is not something that is achieved with words, but with action.

“I have reason to believe that the new Palestinian leadership understands that and is moving in the right direction.”

Bush has previously said that the recent death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as an opportunity to open a new chapter in the Middle East and expressed confidence that a Palestinian state can be created during his second four-year term of office.


At 12/20/2004 07:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh, fortunately, you managed to continue the Syria Comment from Syria. How did you find the connection and the access to internet there, you were worried about that?

At 12/20/2004 02:27:00 PM, Blogger Joshua Landis said...

Actually, I am in Oxford visiting Eugene Rogan, an old friend who fortunately has cable. I will let you know about Syria soon. I leave for Damascus tomorrow.

At 12/28/2004 08:44:00 PM, Blogger Robert Lindsay said...

Let's see how this translates. Wait until AFTER an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is reached (which Sharon's "formaldehyde" statements imply to be "never in our lifetimes", and THEN and ONLY THEN can Syria petition the Israeli colonial state to get back Syria's stolen land. Why does Syria need to wait? What for? s there a reason? Of course not. The famous US-Israeli game on Arab peace talks is stall stall stall stall. Put it off until.....never....sometime in the's all just a big game, the purpose of which is to NEVER give Syria back her lands.


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