Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Syria and its neighbours

Syria is obviously in great difficulty with one of its neighbours - Israel who say Syria is harbouring terrorists.

"The Israelis know that Hamas' presence in Syria is limited to offices. If they cannot stomach this then let Hamas leaders return to their homeland. We and Hamas will be pleased," said one Syrian official, who asked not to be identified to a Reuters interviewer. He went on to say that Syria will not succumb to Israeli pressure to abandon support for Hamas.

Syria has more constructive relations with its western neighbour Turkey in the face of Israeli and some Washington opposition which would like to see Syria isolated diplomatically. Last month, Syria's foreign minister Walid Muallem met with his Turkish counterpart in Baku, Azerbaijan. They are said to have discussed border controls with Iraq, which Syria claims are under control despite remonstrances from the Americans. Syria also said that while relations are good with Turkey, they are on ice with Lebanon, but that the Syrians are interested in establishing diplomatic exchanges with the government in Iraq. The pursuit of bilateral arrangements seem to have born fruit with the Turks.

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