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Syria reasserts condition for participation in peace conference
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08:17, October 09, 2007

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Syria reasserted on Monday that its participation in an international peace conference called by the U.S. administration depends on clarifications about the goals of this meeting and the issues it will discuss, the official SANA news agency reported.

The central leadership of the National Progressive Front (NPF), a coalition of parties led by the ruling al-Baath party, made the condition in a meeting chaired by NPF Deputy Chairman Suleiman Qaddah.

The conference should aim to achieve a just and comprehensive peace by providing suitable conditions including the end of the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, the leadership said.

They also underlined Syria's commitment to stability in the region, saying Syria would not waste any opportunity to achieve peace.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Sunday that his country has not received a U.S. invitation for the planned Middle East peace conference to be held in the United States in November.

An invitation from the U.S. government will be a prerequisite for Syria to attend the conference, and Syria will also check the agenda of the conference to decide whether to take part, asserted Muallem.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier this month Syria will not attend the conference if it does not address Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Middle East war.

The United States said recently it would invite Syria to attend the Middle East conference.

U.S. President George W. Bush proposed in July to hold the international conference, which would bring together Israel, the Palestinians, the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, which includes the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, and some Arab states to help resume the stalled Middle East peace talks.

Source: Xinhua

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