Foreign minister left with egg on his face
4 August 2006
MADRID – The head of Spanish diplomacy was left on Friday with egg on his face after Syria denied his declaration that it would use its influence over Hizbullah.
On Thursday, foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos met with Syrian president Bachar el Assad for talks – the first top-ranking western politician to visit Syria in several months.
At a press conference after his meeting in Damasco, he said the Syrian leaders were “going to exercise all their influence on Hizbullah, but the circumstances and the political and military context in the Lebanon has to change”.
But, according to the Spanish financial newspaper El Economista, a Syrian official denied Moratinos’ statement later in the day.
Sana, the official news agency in Syria, quoted the unnamed official as saying Moratinos’ declaration had “no basis” in the reality of the meeting.
El Economista illustrated the story with a cartoon of Moratinos saying “Don’t worry gentlemen, the mediator’s here.”
On Thursday, Moratinos was asked whether his visit was aimed at bringing Syria out of its diplomatic isolation. He replied that it was “positive to again have contact with Syria”.
The USA has accused Syria of collaborating with the Lebanese terrorist movement Hizbullah which captured two Israeli soldiers on 12 July, sparking off military action by Israel.
Moratinos’ attempt to broker a peace in the Lebanon has also involved a visit to Beirut where he held talks with the Lebanese prime minister Fuad Siniora and with the president of the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri, who also represented Hizbullah. He also met ministers from Egypt.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news