Advertisement

Syria Scornfully Rejects Plan for International Peace Talks

October 01, 1987|NORMAN KEMPSTER | Times Staff Writer

UNITED NATIONS — Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shareh, in an unyielding speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Wednesday scornfully rejected the international peace conference plan advocated by some officials in Israel and supported by the United States.

Shareh urged the international community to refuse to attend the conference proposed by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres as a forum for direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

"Israel shall never enjoy peace in our region, irrespective of the extent of its military strength, as long as it continues to occupy any part of Arab lands," Shareh said.

The speech was a setback for U.S. efforts to bring Syria closer to the Arab-Israeli peace process. U.S.-Syrian relations have improved recently, after a year of bitter estrangement, but the Damascus regime has not wavered in its hostility toward Israel.

U.S. officials are concerned that active Syrian opposition could block peace negotiations between Israel and Jordan or any other Arab nation. However, these officials hope that Syria can be persuaded to soften its position so that, even if it does not wish to talk peace with Israel, it will not try to prevent other states from doing so.

"We would hope that they wouldn't be a roadblock," a U.S. official said after Shareh's speech. "What we have been saying is that the parties that are involved should work out something that would be acceptable to them."

Shareh said Syria would attend a U.N.-sponsored conference that would have genuine authority. Both Israel and the United States have long rejected such a conference.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|