A+ A-

Syrian diplomat says it s vital for Damascus to restore relations with

Washington WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (KUNA) -- Syrian Ambassador to the United States Imad Mustafa said on Monday that it is vital for Damascus to restore its relationship with Washington while blaming the US administration for vetoing the Syrian Israeli peace track.
"Syria believe that the Syrian-Israeli peace track will not be re-launched as long as there is no US administration that fully and enthusiastically supports peace talks between the Syrians and the Israelis", said Mustafa.
Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Mustafa described the Annapolis conference as "a minor but a positive improvement" in US-Syrian relations, noting that it is "vital for us to be engaged politically and diplomatically with the United States".
"We hope that this will lead to more and more diplomatic and political discussions and engagement that might lead to the resumption of the fully fledged sort of cooperation we used to have with the United States", he added.
Washington withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in the beginning of 2005, following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, as Syria was widely seen as a potential suspect in the murder.
Mustafa acknowledged that there are "difficulties" repairing this relationship before the end of President George W. Bush term in office but there is "a possibility".
"We do not believe that dramatic improvements will take place, but it has already considerably improved in the past six months", said Mustafa.
He remarked that relations between Syria and the United States were "not confrontational in the past", noting that the war on Iraq in 2003 "was the tipping point after which bilateral relations between Syria and the United States dramatically deteriorated".
"It is of our own national interest to find a solution to the ongoing conflict in Iraq and to help stabilize the situation in Iraq", said Mustafa noting that "Damascus offered cooperation with the United States on Iraq since 2004".
Mustafa described the relations between Damascus and Tehran as "excellent".
"Syria does have good relations with Iran, but it does mean that because the United States has a problem with Iran, we also should engage in an exercise in which we demonize Iran", he said.
On Lebanon, Mustafa said that Syria "recognizes Lebanon as a sovereign independent state" and tackled the ongoing international investigation in the killing of Hariri.
Mustafa said that the four reports drafted by the former Belgian lead investigator Serge Brammertz praised Syrian cooperation in the investigation.
"It helps the Syrian national interest to actually reveal the truth about this terrible crime so that nobody will point fingers in a baseless way and accuse this party or that party for politically motivated reasons", concluded Mustafa. (end) jm.tg KUNA 180059 Dec 07NNNN