Israel Syria 'violation' criticised

Israel sticks to blanket refusal to comment on Syrian airspace-violation charge.


    Echoing the Arab League, Qatar, a non-permanent UN Security Council member, on Friday urged the Middle East peace Quartet "to shoulder its responsibility".
     
    It asked the Quartet, which groups the US, UN, European Union and Russia, "to put an end to such aggressive behaviour in order to avoid any negative consequences which would affect security and stability in the region".
     
    Israeli denial
     
    Although one Syrian official said troops "fired heavily" at Israeli jets, the state news agency on Thursday only reported air defences "confronting" them.
     
    Analysts speculate that such a foray could have been probing Syria's defences or monitoring long-range missile bases.

    Israeli officials have refused to deny or
    confirm the Syrian complaint [AFP]

    The reported path also would have taken the jets near Iran, whose growing power and hostile government worries leaders of Israel.

    Ghaleb Majadele, Israel's science, sport and culture minister, said on Friday that Israel Air Force planes had entered Syrian airspace in the past without leading to an outbreak of hostilities.
     
    Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, denied all knowledge of the incident.
     
    "I don't know what you are talking about," he was quoted by Haaretz daily as saying, hours after his office and the Israel army both said they refused to respond to Damascus' claims.
     
    He insisted that it was business as usual, asking reporters, "Do I not look relaxed?"
     
    Tzipi Livni, foreign minister, and Haim Ramon, vice prime minister, issued similar responses.
     
    "I don't know what happened there," Ramon said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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