Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Article excerpt

Syria Welcomes Turkey Offer

Syria recently welcomed a Turkish offer to mediate between Israel and Syria in an effort to revive the countries' peace negotiations, the Associated Press reported Jan. 25. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the offer at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying his country was willing to "take up the duty [of mediator] between both Israel and the Palestinians, and between Syria and Israel." The previous day, Turkey's Anatolia News Agency quoted Erdogan as saying Turkey's foreign minister would soon "begin the diplomacy." A U.S. ally, Turkey maintains close military and economic ties with Israel and has sought recently to improve relations with its neighbor Syria. "In early January, Bashar Assad made the first visit ever by a Syrian head of state to Turkey," the AP reported. On the day of Erdogan's announcement, Syrian Information Minster Ahmad Hassan told reporters that Damascus hopes the Turkish leader can persuade the Israeli government to "abandon its stubbornness and its noncompliance with international legitimacy and the respective U.N. Security Council resolutions."

Greek President Visits Lebanon

Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos arrived in Lebanon Jan. 21 on an official three-day visit to boost political and economic relations, an AFP article reported that day. The Greek president, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and 55 Greek businessmen, was met at the airport by Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and Foreign Minister Jean Obeid. The following day, the two presidents met and signed four cooperation agreements dealing with tourism, agriculture and air and land transport. Stephanopoulos also inaugurated the offices of the Greek-Lebanese businessmen's forum and addressed the Lebanese parliament. …

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