Syria: Too early for Lebanon ties

Walid Muallem, the Syrian foriegn minister, has said it is too early for the country to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon.

    Walid Muallem said Syria was waiting for the right moment

    Muallem said on Thursday that any move required an "appropriate atmosphere" between the two countries.

    "There is no problem concerning the principle of establishing formal diplomatic relations....but we need to find the appropriate moment," he added

    The minister made his remarks following a meeting between the Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad, and his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak.

    The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last month that encouraged Syria to establish ties with the country it occupied for three decades.

    The resolution urged Syria to respond to a Lebanese request to delineate their common borders.

    Blame

    Muallem said that what was holding Syria back was the assertion by members of the Lebanese cabinet that Damascus was behind former prime minister Rafiq Hariri's assassination in  February 2005.

    "The main point of disagreement is with some members of the  Lebanese government who have pre-empted the results of the investigation and accused Syria of assassinating Rafiq Hariri," he said.

    He described this as an "unfair media campaign" against Assad's government.

    Preliminary reports from an ongoing UN inquiry into Hariri's assassination suggested top-level Syrian involvement.

    Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon in the aftermath of the killing, ending 29 years of occupation.

    SOURCE: AFP


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