Syria, Lebanon put pressure on Israel

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 19 (UPI) -- Israel must withdraw from occupied territories according to the terms spelled out in U.N. resolutions, leaders from Syrian and Lebanon said in a statement.

Damascus during the weekend welcomed a delegation led by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Once bitter foes, both sides have sought to repair diplomatic ties in recent years.


Both sides during a weekend ceremony in Damascus signed 18 separate agreements on trade, counter-narcotics, agriculture and education.

The Syrian government in the wake of the meeting noted that the two governments were committed to encouraging high-level cooperation "based on common strategic principles and mutual respect of the sovereignty and independence of both countries," the official Syrian Arab News Agency reports.

Syria exchanged ambassadors with Lebanon in 2009 as Damascus moved closer to the regional and international community.

Syria and Lebanon are considered key players in the effort toward peace in the Middle East. Both of the Arab neighbors are wary of Israeli activity along their border regions.

A joint statement from the weekend summit calls on Israel to forfeit occupied Syrian and Lebanese territory and back the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.


The trip to Damascus is the second for Hariri as prime minister. The prime minister, along with several Lebanese lawmakers and many in the international community, believes Syria played a role in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, his father, in 2005.

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