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SYRIA - Sept 28 - Syria Vows To Back Hamas, Hizbullah At All Costs.

A govt newspaper Baath says Syria will keep supporting Hamas and Hizbullah despite US threats to impose more sanctions on it. Relations between the US, Israel's chief ally, and Syria have been bad for years, and hit a new low after last year's assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, who was friendly with Washington. A UN investigation said the assassination could not have been carried out without the knowledge of Syrian security officials. Damascus denies involvement in the killing. "Syria is more determined to stand by the resistance until the land is liberated and Israel is defeated", an editorial in the newspaper Baath said. US State Sec Condoleezza Rice threatened this week to toughen sanctions Washington imposed on Syria in 2004, mainly because of its support for the two movements. "If the US administration is serious about combating terrorism then it should play a constructive role in pushing forward the peace process on the basis of UN resolutions 242 and 338", the newspaper said. The UN resolutions, passed decades ago, call on Israel to withdraw from Arab land it has occupied since 1967 and call for negotiations to reach a "just and durable peace" in the region. "Absolute US support for Israel is one of the main causes behind regional instability. The US has helped Israel in the United Nations stand against any proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict", the paper said. Rice said this week that the US was going "to have to look at tougher measures if Syria continues to be on the path that it's on". She said Washington would like other nations to join it in imposing "other kinds of sanctions" on Syria. Syrian FM Walid Moallem told the UN General Assembly this week that the world pays the price when the US government thinks it knows what Arabs want better than the Arabs themselves. Diplomats in Damascus say Washington was also angered by the Syrian response to an attack carried out by Muslim militants on the US Embassy in Damascus on September. 12. Syrian security forces foiled the attack, but Syrian officials later said US policies in the region and US support for Israel were to blame because they had provoked the four Syrians who carried out the attack. In May 2004, Washington banned some US exports to Syria, severed banking ties and barred Syrian flights to and from the US.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Sep 30, 2006
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