Friday, September 03, 2004

EU's Solana defendes Syria

EU’s Solana urges Israel not to threaten Syria

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana criticised on Friday Israeli threats against Syria following Palestinian suicide bombings this week that killed 16 people.

“I don’t think it’s helpful to start talking about attacking new countries. The situation in the Middle East is complicated enough,” Solana told reporters on arriving for an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in the Netherlands.

He said he did not believe the United States would support such threats.

Solana was responding to reported comments by Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz that Israel could not disconnect the suicide attacks in Beersheva, the deadliest for six months, from what he called activity in Lebanon and Syria. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos also urged restraint.

“We will try (to work things out so) that we don’t initiate spillover on the region. On the contrary we need dialogue, we need negotiation, we need a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and of course Syria is an important actor in the region,” he told reporters.

The Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, has offices in Syria and Israel has alleged that many bombings perpetrated inside the Jewish state are planned or orchestrated from Damascus.