Syria: US inciting trouble in Middle East

March 21, 2005 at 6:47 AM

ALGIERS, Algeria, March 21 (UPI) -- Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Moallem says the United States is instigating trouble among Israel's Arab neighbors to serve Israeli interests.

"I do not think that Lebanon and Syria would be in a trap unless there was a U.S. scheme to instigate trouble in Israel's neighboring Arab countries in order to serve Israeli interests," Beirut daily As-Safir Monday quoted Moallem as saying Monday.

In Algiers for an Arab summit that opens Tuesday, Muallem said: "By instigating problems in the region, the U.S. will help Israel complete the construction of the separation barrier and deny the Palestinian people their legitimate rights."

Moallem denied Syria had a hand in the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, saying, "Syria was greatly affected by Hariri's slaying and lost an ally and partner.

"The accusations are unfounded ... No charges can be considered unless there is evidence to back them up," he added.

The multi-sectarian Lebanese opposition has blamed Syria and the Syrian-backed regime of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud for Hariri's slaying in a massive Beirut car bombing.

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