US summons Syrian envoy over arms to Hezbollah

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 09:40

Washington: The Obama Administration has
summoned a top Syrian envoy here to express its serious
concerns over the country`s "potential transfer" of arms to
Hezbollah.

Deputy Chief of Mission Zouheir Jabbour, the most senior
Syrian diplomat present in Washington, was at the Foggy Bottom
headquarters of the State Department.

Jabbour was summoned yesterday to review Syria`s
"provocative behaviour" concerning the "potential transfer" of
arms to Hezbollah, the State Department said.

"We call for an immediate cessation of any arms transfers
to Hezbollah and other terrorist organisations in the region.
Syria`s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism is
directly related to its support for terrorist groups, such as
Hizbollah," Deputy State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid
said.

This was the fourth time in the past few months when the
US` concerns have been raised to the Embassy, he said, adding
it was intended to "further amplify" messages communicated to
the Syrian government.

"Our dialogue with Syria on this issue has been frank and
sustained. We expect the same in return," Dugid said.

Condemning in the strongest terms the transfer of any
arms, and especially ballistic missile systems such as the
Scud, from Syria to Hezbollah, Duguid said it can only have a
destabilising effect on the region.

It would also pose an immediate threat to both the
security of Israel and the sovereignty of Lebanon, he added.

"The risk of miscalculation that could result from this
type of escalation should make Syria reverse the ill-conceived
policy it has pursued in providing arms to Hezbollah."

Additionally, the heightened tension and increased
potential for conflict this policy produces is an impediment
to on-going efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the
Middle East, he said.

"All states have an obligation under UN Security Council
Resolution 1701 to prevent the importation of any weapons into
Lebanon except as authorised by the Lebanese Government," the
spokesman added.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 09:40
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