Steinmeier cancels visit to Syria after 'negative' speech

15th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 August 2006, AMMAN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier continued Tuesday his visit to the Middle East after cancelling a planned trip to Syria after a 'negative' speech made by the Syrian president.

15 August 2006

AMMAN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier continued Tuesday his visit to the Middle East after cancelling a planned trip to Syria after a 'negative' speech made by the Syrian president.

Steinmeier conferred Tuesday with Jordan's King Abdullah, who warned against the emergence of "new crises" in the region, barring a "just and comprehensive" solution for the Palestinian question, according to an official statement.

"The Middle East region will remain unstable, insecure and open to new crises unless a just and comprehensive solution is found for the core issue of the region's conflict, the Palestinian question," the monarch was quoted as telling Steinmeier.

The King also cautioned that the war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militias "could be repeated if the world community fails to shoulder its responsibilities in finding a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict," the statement from the royal court said.

Abdullah added that such settlement should "ensure the return of Arab land" occupied by Israel, the statement said.

"The monarch underscored the important role for Berlin and other European Union capitals in Lebanon's reconstruction," it added.

He also urged Germany and other EU countries to play their "important role" in extending political and economic aid to the Palestinian Authority and helping the Israelis and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, the statement said.

For his part, Steinmeier briefed Abdullah on "the EU efforts to ensure the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1701 and enable the Lebanese government to address the requirements of the present stage."

The German Foreign Minister arrived in Amman on Monday night at the start of a regional tour that was originally scheduled to take him to Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Shortly before his scheduled departure from Amman, Steinmeier told reporters that he decided to cancel his trip to Damascus, citing his displeasure with a speech that was delivered earlier Tuesday by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The speech was a "negative" contribution which in no way was appropriate to the challenges and opportunities in the Middle East, Steinmeier said in comments at Amman airport.

In his televised address, Assad described Israel as an "enemy" and urged Arab leaders to extend assistance to the resistance against Israeli occupation of Arab land.

DPA

Subject: German news

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