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Syria: Israel should admit defeat

  |   Aug. 23, 2006 at 9:35 AM
KUWAIT CITY, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Syria has called on Israel to acknowledge defeat against Hezbollah and seek a just peace settlement with Arabs based on trading land for peace.

Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Muallem stressed in an interview with Kuwaiti daily al-Anbaa' Wednesday that "Israel tried military option in Lebanon lately, but the Lebanese national resistance inflicted on it a certain defeat."

"This is a lesson that Israel should acknowledge... The option of military force and arrogance is not useful, leaving no choice for Israel but that of a just peace settlement," Muallem added.

Syria has been trying to take credit for and advantage of Hezbollah's resistance during the 33 days of Israeli onslaught on Lebanon in reviving its peace discussions with Israel. The hostilities, which came to a halt Aug. 14 in line with Security Council Resolution 1701, claimed the lives of 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Three thousand people were injured, and the civilian infrastructure largely destroyed.

Muallem said the path for a just and comprehensive peace is based on returning Arab territories seized in 1967 and "guaranteeing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people according to international resolutions."

In the six-day Arab-Israeli war of 1967, the Jewish state seized Gaza from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights and the Shabaa Farms from Syria. But Lebanon insists that Shabaa Farms is part of its territory and should be returned under Resolution 425. Israel and the United Nations insist it was under Syrian sovereignty when captured.

Muallem called on Arab countries to boost and warm up relations with Syria's non-Arab but Muslim ally, Iran, which he said adopts the Arabs' rightful cause against Israel.

"We do not see any contradiction between our Arab allegiance and alliance with Iran, which is a Muslim country with clear standing on the just causes of the Arabs."

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