Da Gulf News del 24/08/2006
Originale su http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/08/24/10062372.html

Bashar rejects UN troops

Dubai: Syria's President Bashar Al Assad was quoted on Wednesday as rejecting the deployment of UN troops along the Lebanon-Syria border, saying such a move would create animosity between the two countries.

"This is an infringement on Lebanese sovereignty and a hostile position," Assad told Dubai Television.

The TV station's anchor quoted Bashar without showing video of the interview, which would air later last night.

Bashar also urged the Lebanese government to adhere to its responsibilities and not embark on anything that could sabotage relations with Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Tuesday that Israel had no plans to lift its air and sea blockade on Lebanon until an international peacekeeping force took up positions along the Syrian border and at Beirut's airport. Israel accuses Syria of sending weapons into Lebanon to arm Hezbollah.

The fighting in Lebanon opened sharp divisions between Syria and other Arab countries, some of whom blamed Damascus' support for Hezbollah for fuelling the crisis. Bashar, in turn, blasted Mideast leaders as "half men" in a speech last week sparking an angry response in state-run media in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

One of the harshest criticisms of Bashar came in an editorial in the state-run Egyptian paper Al Gomhuria on Wednesday.

"Your brave [Syrian] army has a record in killing Lebanese," the editorial said, addressing Bashar.

"You've killed thousands of your own people in Halab and Hama, when they rebelled against late Al Assad [Bashar's father]," it said, referring to Syria's harsh crackdown on hardliners in the 1980s.

"This is your army that you consider to be beyond comparison with any Arab armies," it said.

A UN-brokered cease-fire halted fighting between Israel and Hezbollah on August 14. The pact called for a UN force of 15,000 soldiers to help patrol Lebanon's southern border with Israel, alongside a Lebanese army contingent of the same size, in an effort to extend the Lebanese government's authority across its full territory.

While the resolution did not explicitly call on the force to police the Syrian frontier, it said it could help Lebanon, at its government's request, to secure its borders and prevent illegal weapons from entering the country.

Bashar also was quoted as rejecting the demarcation of his country's border with Lebanon in Sheba'a Farms, a small sliver of land where the corners of Lebanon, Syria and Israel meet.

Lebanon claims the region as its own, but Israel has occupied the area since capturing it from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war. Syria says the territory is Lebanese but has not provided official documents stating that, and the United Nations has said the territory is Syrian.

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