SYRIA

Syrian paper: Bush tour doomed to fail

By AP AND JPOST.COM STAFF

DAMASCUS, Syria

US President George W. Bush is carrying “chaotic ideas” with him on his Mideast tour, which is doomed to fail, Syria’s government Tishrin newspaper said Wednesday.

Bush, who arrived in Israel Wednesday at the start of an eight-day tour of the region, carries “rotten produce in his pocket to market in the region and (comes) with some chaotic ideas in mind to further support Israel, undermine the Arab forces of resistance, antagonize Arab-Iran relations and justify US-Zionist hegemony,” the daily said in an editorial.

Bush is hoping to try to build momentum for stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks during his visit. At a November peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, Israel and the Palestinians pledged to reach a final agreement by the end of the year, before Bush leaves office.

Bush, who will also visit the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, has said he will also work with Mideast allies to develop a security plan to counter Iran.

But Tishrin cast doubt on any success emerging from the visit.

“It’s unlikely that Bush would achieve any tangible results during his tour of the region that could … whiten the US administration’s black image,” said Tishrin.

The most Bush can achieve, it said, is a “deal that can satisfy his arrogance and Israeli greed, as well as continue the policy of intimidation and accusations.”

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said that his country was not interested in a military solution to the Syrian-Israeli conflict and would be willing to renew peace negotiations, Army Radio reported.

“We participated in the Annapolis conference and we are willing to renew contact, under our conditions, in a way that will not block development with the Palestinians,” Moallem told Arab news channel Al-Arabiya.

The minister added that he did not believe US President Geroge Bush’s trip to the region would bring advancement to the peace process in the Middle East.

In Beirut, Lebanon’s Hizbullah condemned Bush’s Mideast trip and urged Arab governments to be aware of the “dangers” of US policy on the future of Arab and Islamic worlds.

“The US sponsorship of the negotiations between the Palestinians and Zionists represents a direct cover for liquidating the Palestinian issue and displacing the remaining Palestinians under the so-called Jewish state,” a Hizbullah statement said.

It charged that Bush’s tour was also aimed at turning the Middle East region into “an arena for a confrontation among Arabs themselves and between Arabs and their Muslim neighbors.”
Bush’s trip was also condemned by Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

“Today is a black day in the history of our Arab region and the history of our Arab and Islamic nation,” Nasrallah said Wednesday night, addressing supporters south of Beirut.

Speaking through a giant screen, he added, “It is a disgraceful and shameful day for all Arabs and Muslims when the Pharaoh (Bush) of this age sets foot on our occupied holy land.”

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