Syria`s Assad says Mideast peace talks aim to boost Obama

Last Updated: Sunday, October 3, 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.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 3, 2010 - 10:04

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