Syria`s Assad says Mideast peace talks aim to boost Obama
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 03, 2010, 10:04
Tehran: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in Tehran on Saturday that direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were aimed only at bolstering support for President Barack Obama inside the United States.

Meanwhile, his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised Assad's role in "resistance" against Israel, the Islamic republic's arch-foe.

"Nothing has changed in the Palestinian peace process (which) only aims to garner support for Obama inside America," Assad was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the website of Ahmadinejad's office.

He was speaking at the start of an official visit to Iran, during talks with Ahmadinejad who also criticised the United States and Israel, saying "America's facade has crumbled and the Zionist regime has been exposed," without specifying whether he was referring to the US-mediated peace talks.

Exactly one month after they were launched, the direct talks are at risk of collapsing since Israel allowed a 10-month moratorium on new settler homes in the West Bank to expire last Sunday.

Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials have already dismissed the direct talks, as the Islamic republic does not recognise Israel.

The Obama administration has increasingly sought to develop ties with Syria, and has encouraged Damascus to distance itself from Tehran.

But senior Washington officials, including Defence Secretary Robert Gates, have accused both Iran and Syria of arming the Shiite Lebanese militant group Hezbollah with sophisticated rockets and missiles.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mainly soldiers.

Iranian media said today that Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine would feature prominently in Assad's talks with Iranian leaders.

His visit comes just days after Iraqi ex-prime minister Iyad Allawi said he asked Syria to persuade Iran to keep out of his protracted battle for the premiership with incumbent Nuri al-Maliki after inconclusive elections in March.


First Published: Sunday, October 03, 2010, 10:04

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