Al-Shara to EU ambassadors: Clinton conveyed proposals represent retreat from Rabin's deposit
Syria-European Union, Politics, 3/31/2000
Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara met on Thursday with the ambassadors of the European Union member states accredited in Damascus to brief them on the actual events that took place during the Geneva summit between President Hafez al-Assad and US President Bill Clinton, as well as the Syrian position toward what took place and what has been stated in the media in this regard afterwards.
Al-Shara stated that President al-Assad went to Geneva in response to an invitation addressed to him by the US president in a telephone call President Clinton made with al-Assad on March 7, 2000 in which he stressed that he had a very important thing he wants to convey to the president and that he wanted to meet directly with President al-Assad to brief him on the results of the talks he exerted with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and his government in order to give the peace process a push forward on the Syrian track.
Al-Shara added that the meeting was started in a friendly manner, but when President Clinton conveyed to president al-Assad that Israel wants complete control of the waters of the Jordan River and the lake of Tabaraya, a matter which is considered a real retreat from Rabin's deposit, the al-Assad categorically refused that and stressed that he will not give up any of the rights of the people and the homeland regardless of time.
Al-Shara added that President Clinton commented that he honored President al-Assad's nationalism and his conscience in protecting the interests of his people and that he is not asking him to take a decision that stands against the interest of his people.
The foreign minister added, "It has become clear for us that the government of Barak is placing new obstacles before resuming the peace talks."
The minister expressed Syria's disappointment over what had been promoted by certain media which claimed that Syria places obstacles before the peace process, investing a sentence used in the statements made by the US president following the conclusion of the Geneva Summit.
Al-Shara stated that Syria cannot be misled by the game of tracks or threatening Lebanon with a unilateral withdrawal. "All know that the Arab street everywhere is with the stand of justice and right expressed by President al-Assad in Geneva. And Israel will not be able to divert its defeat in Lebanon into a bottleneck to Syria and Lebanon through its escape of the requirements of peace," he said.
The European ambassadors stressed their countries' backing to achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region on the grounds of UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425, the Madrid terms of reference and the land-for-peace formula. They also said they understand Syria's demand of a complete Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders and Lebanon's restoration of all its occupied lands.
They continued they will convey the Syrian viewpoint expressed by al-Shara to their governments and voiced their appreciation of Syria's continued commitment to the peace process and its basics and its efforts to realize a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
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