Syrian PM: Israel benefitted from Iraq

Syria's prime minister has claimed Israel is the sole beneficiary of the US-led occupation of Iraq.

    Syria's PM (L) and Iran's first vice president chair high committee

    Speaking at a joint Syrian-Iranian high committee on Monday, Muhammad Utri also claimed Tel Aviv had no interest in making peace with Palestinians.

    "Israel, backed by the United States, is opposed to peace and remains a source of instability in the region.
    "Israel is the only one who benefits from the US-British occupation of Iraq ... which has become a source of ongoing concern and is unacceptable."
    Iraqi solution

    He called on Arab and Muslim states, especially Iraq's neighbours, to coordinate their efforts to find a resolution that would put an end to the suffering of the Iraqi people and to the occupation.

    The PM added that the Syrian government was keen to see a settlement that would allow the Iraqis to exercise their democratic rights and form their own government."
    The committee meeting, co-chaired by the Iranian first vice president Muhammad Reza Aref, was expected to focus on bilateral ties - specifically in the area of economic cooperation.
    Peace talks

    Utri reiterated Syria's "attachment" to peace in the Middle East and again called for the resumption of peace talks with Israel, which broke down four years ago.
    Syria wants to recover the Golan Heights, the plateau captured by Israel in 1967.
    But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said the negotiations must start again from scratch and has insisted on a halt to Syrian support for Palestinian and Lebanese resistance groups. 



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