Syria Inching Closer to Attending Annapolis?

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(AFP Images)

The Syrian government is now saying the Abbas-led Fatah Palestinian government is not illegitimate in Syrian eyes, and Ma’an News Agency has read this as a signal Syria may be inching away from its early opposition to the Annapolis conference. Ma’an may yet be correct, but there’s also the central issue of the Golan Heights, and not just Fatah’s legitimacy or lack thereof. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad articulated this clearly in an interview last month with two Tunisian newspapers, Ach-Chourouk and Le Quotidien, regarding his country’s position on the upcoming Annapolis conference. He stated, “The Syrian track is essential and the Golan issue is number one.” This came just days after Ehud Olmert stated during an Oct. 8 meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan that negotiations over the Golan Heights would not be on the agenda during the conference, both because he wanted to devote his full effort to the Palestinian negotiations and (presumably), because Israel’s Sep. 6 attack inside Syria set back the Israeli-Syrian negotiations process for at least the foreseeable future.

Syria inches away from early opposition to Annapolis conference

(Ma’an News Agency) – The government of Syria has reassured the Palestinian Authority that it will not question the legitimacy of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Ramallah-based Palestinian news agency Sama reported Saturday.

On Wednesday Islamic Jihad announced the postponement of an ‘alternative conference’ originally planned to take place in the Syrian capital of Damascus parallel to the international peace conference in Annapolis, in the US state of Maryland. President Abbas sent a delegation to Damascus to request the postponement of the alternative meeting.

Sama quoted Syrian government sources who stressed that they support unity among Palestinian factions. The officials said they “welcomed” the visit from Abbas’ presidential delegation.

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