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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:10, December 13, 2006
Dutch FM says Syria can play key role in Mideast region
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Visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said here on Tuesday that Syria could play an important role in achieving peace in the Middle East.

"Given the many positive signals I have received today, I am convinced that Syria can also play an important role in the region, " Bot told reporters after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al- Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem.

"Syria is a key role player in the Middle East. Syria is part and should be part of a solution," said Bot, who arrived here earlier in the day for a brief visit here.

Bot also said that Europe expected Damascus to play a constructive role in solving conflicts in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq, which could be helpful in closer relations between the European Union (EU) and Syria.

Meanwhile, the Dutch top diplomat vowed to report back his talks in Syria to his European allies and the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, hoping this would improve its ties with the West.

According to Syrian official SANA news agency, President Assad said, for his part, that the region could only achieve security and stability after the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace while Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem called on the EU to play a greater role in the region during their meetings with Bot.

Syria has witnessed an isolation from the West since 2005 over its alleged role in the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri despite its rejection of any involvement.

The EU still refused to complete a partnership trade agreement which was seen as vital to the slow-paced Syrian economic reform efforts.

Source: Xinhua


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