Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Mark Tran and agencies
Tuesday November 21, 2006
"Regional efforts to contain the violence in Iraq gathered pace as as Baghdad and Syria today agreed to restore full diplomatic relations after a 24-year break.
The move followed a visit by the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moualem, to Iraq - the first by a Syrian minister since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Mr Moualem pledged cooperation in tackling the growing violence sweeping the country, saying Syria was prepared to work "hand in hand to achieve the security of brother Iraq".
He also signed an accord with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshiyar Zebari, agreeing that US troops should remain in Iraq for the time being. Previously, he had called for a timetable for the withdrawal of 140,000 US troops.
The accord contained wording used by the Iraqi and US governments, saying troops should gradually withdraw once they were not needed."
IT TOOK THE SYRIAN REGIME 24 YEARS TO RESTORE FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. IT IS PATIENT, STRONG AND A REAL BELIEVER IN THE BA'TH AND PAN ARABISM. IT WAITED FOR JUST THE RIGHT TIME TO DO THAT; AND THAT TIME HAS ARRIVED. WHAT WITH IRAQ OCCUPIED BY US TROOPS, AND SYRIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER SECURE UNDER THE AMERICAN GUNS IN THE GREEN ZONE, WHAT COULD BE A BETTER TIME? THE IRAQI PUPPETS PRESENTED HIM WITH A US-DRAFTED DOCUMENT WHICH ASKS FOR THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF US FORCES, AND HE CHEERFULLY SIGNED IT.
MR. ASSAD: SINCE YOU LIKE THOSE AMERICAN TROOPS SO MUCH, SOON YOU WILL HAVE SOME IN SYRIA, COMPLETE WITH A SYRIAN GREEN ZONE.