Egypt against isolating Syria

Syria should not be isolated and no one should make accusations about former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri's killing until a UN report is published next month, Egypt has said.

    Egypt's Hosni Mubarak (R) met Syria's Bashar al-Assad in Cairo

    "The Egyptian proposal rejects isolating Syria and calls for

    achieving stability in the region and not opening a new focus of

    tension that adds to an already complicated situation," Egyptian

    presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said on Sunday.

    He was speaking to reporters after talks in Cairo between

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Syrian counterpart

    Bashar al-Assad.

    The United States has warned Syria that it faces isolation

    unless it cooperates with Iraq over border security.

    Syria says

    it has deployed thousands of troops on the Iraq border to

    prevent infiltrators entering Iraq. 

    Washington has also accused Syria of drawing up an

    assassination hit list targeting Lebanese political leaders, a charge

    Syrian officials deny.

    Many Lebanese go further and blame

    Damascus for al-Hariri's assassination, which Demascus also denies. 

    UN investigation

    A UN team investigating al-Hariri's death, led by Detlev

    Mehlis, finished questioning several Syrian officials last week

    and will report its findings in late October. 

    "The Egyptian proposal rejects isolating Syria and calls for

    achieving stability in the region and not opening a new focus of

    tension that adds to an already complicated situation"

    Suleiman Awad,
    Egyptian presidential spokesman

    Mubarak is "calling upon Syria to go on cooperating with

    Mr Mehlis. He is against any finger pointing at Syria before Mr

    Mehlis's report is made available to the United Nations," Awad

    said.

    The official Syrian Arab News Agency reported that

    al-Assad briefed Mubarak on the visit of Mehlis to Damascus and

    also discussed "the cooperation offered by the Syrian

    authorities so that his mission is successful".

    Diplomats in Damascus say Syria has been seeking to rally

    Arab support to ease US pressure on it.

    Some Arab media have

    reported an Egyptian-Saudi initiative that would include Syrian

    concessions on political reform and increased border security. 

    Asked if any joint initiative existed, Awad said: "I am

    always reluctant to talk about initiatives or mediation. What I

    am talking about is ongoing, continuing efforts exerted by

    President Mubarak of Egypt in order to bring this whole

    situation to an early conclusion."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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