DAMASCUS, Syria, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- After being temporarily sidelined, Syria is eyeing a strong comeback on the Palestinian scene by seeking to host a meeting of all Palestinian factions.
Deputy Foreign Minister Faycal Mokdad revealed Monday that the Syrian leadership, which has been placed under stringent international isolation with veiled Arab consent, "is seeking to organize a meeting for all Palestinian groups (including Fatah and Hamas) in Damascus.
"Syria supports the Palestinian people with all its groups and calls for avoiding fighting among Palestinians," Mokdad said.
He argued that current international attempts to talk to Syria reflect implicit efforts by the Bush Administration to get out of the Iraq quagmire.
Democrats, after winning midterm elections in which they took control of Congress, have hinted at the importance of Syrian and Iranian roles in helping settle the Iraqi crisis, as well as easing Middle East tensions.
Damascus plays host to Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal, who was accused of sabotaging previous efforts to form a Palestinian national unity government comprising rivals Fatah and Hamas.
Former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia of Fatah said following talks with Syrian Vice President Farouk Sharaa in Damascus Monday that Syria "is ready to assist the Palestinians not only with regard to the aspired unity government bit also in all other Palestinian issues."