Syria's FM says his country is keen to develop relations with U.S., France

14:35, July 21, 2011      

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Mouallem said Wednesday that Syria didn't fire the ambassadors of the U.S. and France as a gesture that "we want to develop our relations with the two countries" and so the two countries "would review their attitudes toward Syria."

Al-Mouallem's remarks came during a symposium held Wednesday at Damascus University, in which he said "we wish that we don't have to impose restrictions on the movement of the two ambassadors in Syria."

Al-Mouallem's statement came in response to the unauthorized visit of the U.S. and France ambassadors to the focal point city of Hama.

The visit of the ambassadors has triggered resentment by Syrian authorities, which accused them of fueling the protests in that troubled area.

Al-Mouallem also said "the Qatari ambassador to Syria left the country unannounced." adding that Syria is keen to maintain good relations with Qatar despite what the Doha-based al-Jazeera TV is doing in its media campaign against Syria.

"This is a summer cloud in the Arab relations," Al-Mouallem elaborated.

On the relations with neighboring Lebanon, al-Mouallem said Syria didn't interfere in the formation of the Lebanese government, saying "the country has a new parliament and new government."

He rejected former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's statement in which al-Hariri said that Syrian President Bashar al- Assad and Hasan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanese Hezbollah, had let him out of the government.

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