Sunday, October 14, 2007

Assad: : cover up failed IAF strike & ME conference

source almanarTV


Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview with two Tunisian newspapers published Thursday that Israel is trying to cover up the failure of an Israel Air Force strike on his country early last month.

IAF jets raided a target in northeastern Syria on Sept. 6, which Assad has described as an unused military building while Israeli officials have maintained an unprecedented wall of silence over the affair, though there have been reports - denied by Syria - that the target was a nascent nuclear facility being built with North Korean help.Assad, in the interview, said Israel's silence reflected the failure of Israeli or U.S. intelligence. "They are trying to cover up their failure by shrouding it with mystery," he said.

Assad also all but ruled out his country's participation in a U.S.-sponsored international peace conference on the Middle East, suggesting in an interview published Thursday that the meeting has no chance for success. His comments come amid deep skepticism over the conference among Arab governments, which have expressed doubts the planned gathering in November will tackle the main issues of the conflict with Israel. Top allies Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have not said whether they will attend.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa predicted the conference would be a failure and said the United States was only hoping for a photo-op between Saudi and Israeli officials rather than real progress.

"Syria has not received an invitation to the conference, and even if it did, it will not take part in a conference that lacks the chances of success," Assad said. The Bush administration has said it will invite Syria to the conference. But Assad had said earlier that his country would not attend the meeting if it did not address Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in 1967.

For its part, the Israeli Military Intelligence has expressed doubts about the likelihood of success at the regional peace summit, saying the Palestinians would like to make immediate gains at the summit, but in return will postpone or fail to carry out their commitments.

In the interview, Assad acknowledged that relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not as they should be but said his country was open to any initiatives to improve ties. He warned against any U.S. military action against Iran, saying it would be foolish and detrimental to the region and to the world.

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