Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Syrian Islamic Leader Supports Talks with Israel

Farid sent this item:

Washington DC, June 25, 2006/The Media Line/ -- The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has said his organization would be prepared to hold peace talks with Israel, if it rises to power in Damascus.

‘Ali ‘Sadr A-Din Al-Bayanouni, the exiled leader of the organization, told Reuters the brotherhood was prepared to conduct talks with Israel, if it came to power, providing the talks led to Israel’s withdrawal from “occupied land” and the granting of rights to Palestinians.

Bayanouni has reportedly joined forces with several secular opposition groups and with Syria’s former vice president ‘Abd Al-Halim Khaddam in a bid to topple the current regime in Syria.

Khaddam has been outspoken about Damascus’ involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri in February 2005.

The Syrian government had tightened its grip on opposition, Bayanouni said, because it feared losing control over the country.

Bayanouni lamented that the international community had widely eased pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad, fearing the toppling of Al-Asad’s regime would cause violence and chaos.

The brotherhood, a Sunni Muslim group which is outlawed in Syria, is seen as a serious rival to the ruling Ba’ath Party.

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