"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)

Lübnan Marunîleri / Yasin Atlıoğlu


Monday, December 11, 2000

On President Bashar al-Assad's visit to Turkey

SOURCE: Arabic News

The Sudanese " al-Share' al-Seyasi " daily has expected that President Bashar al-Assad will shortly pay a visit to Turkey following the visit held by vice- President Abdul Halim Khaddam to Ankara in an attempt to open a new page that would minimize the israeli influence in the Turkish policies.

In its analysis issued on December 8, the paper added that many sides considered the Syrian address at the Cairo and Doha summits as a proof for Syria's declared stances, noting " but this address proposes in a new framework especially at the Arab level to get rid off the burden of previous traditional disputes and that the coincidence of the simultaneous Syrian move to Baghdad and Ankara with the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada." The paper added this inclination prompts many observers to look into these changes in that there is an attempt to immunize Damascus position against the consequences resulted from Israel's confusion resulting from its defeat in South Lebanon.

The paper added although some analysts indicate President Bashar al-Assad's desire to form an eastern front including Syria, Iraq and Iran, observers say that this needs also good relations with Turkey with whom commercial trade exchange with Syria was increase from US $ 600 million to US $ one billion. This means that relations between the two countries should not be kept confined to security and water issues and what Israel tries to campaign, rather to open a new page that eliminate the Israeli impact in the Turkish policies and serves the formation of the Eastern Front against Israel.

The paper added that while the Syrian public does not show great interest in the Turkish issue ( relations with Turkey), it has been preoccupied by the Syrian- Iraqi rapprochement and pins great hopes on the reconciliation steps with Baghdad so as to underline the importance of the Iraqi depth for Syria and the importance of having the two states in one front.

The paper concluded as saying that with the positive Syrian official signals towards Iraq, there is a reading for these signals that an alliance will be established between Damascus and Baghdad to withstand the Israeli threats.

Monday, December 04, 2000

Khaddam concludes successful visit to Turkey

SOURCE: Arabic News

Turkish President Ahmad Necdet Ceasar on Friday in Ankara received Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam who handed him a message from President Bashar al-Assad concerning bilateral relations, the situation in the region and issues of mutual concern.

In a statement to pressmen following the meeting, Vice President Khaddam stressed that between Syria, Turkey and between Turkey and the Arab nation is a long history dates back to centuries and that history should constitute a serious cooperation for the interests of the two peoples and countries.

Replying to a question on the aim of his visit, Khaddam said that President Bashar al-Assad asked him to convey a message to President Ahmad Necdet Ceasar on prospects of cooperation and the development of relations between the two countries in various trends.

Khaddam added he held thorough talks with President Ceasar on bilateral relations and means of developing them, the situation in the region and the current tension and its consequences. Khaddam added that view points were completely identical and that the interests of the two countries require development of bilateral relations and framing them in a cooperation agreement. He added that an agreement will be shortly signed definning principles for such a cooperation and then preparations will be made for a more comprehensive agreement on which relations between the two countries will be built in the economic, political, security and cultural areas so as to maintain a renewable and continuous cooperation.

Replying to a question on the expected visit by President Bashar al-Assad to Turkey, Khaddam said that " President Ceasar renewed the invitation and that this invitation will greatly contribute to developing relations between the two countries.

On the security issue, Khaddam noted that " there is a vast cooperation between the security systems concerning the security interests of the two countries.

"Replying to a question on prospects Syria expects from its relations with Turkey, Khaddam said: " we are two neidhboring countries of joint borders and joint and reciprocated interests, All these matters constitute the base for cooperation between the two states." He added he felt a sesious desire at the Turkish side to work together for boosting joint relations.

On the Arab- Israeli conflict and the Turkish position concerning the current crisis, Khaddam said he has explained to the Turkish President the Syrian position and he had learnt that the Turkish President knows well about all dimensions of the conflict and that the Syrian and Turkish sides have a mutual agreement that security and stability can be attained by a just and comprehensive peace.

Replying to a question on Syria's position concerning the current confrontation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Khaddam said: " What is taking place now between our Palestinian brothers and the Israelis reflect the peace crisis. A peace which Israel had obstructed.

He added "When Israel refuses to abide by international resolutions and close the doors before the peace process, when it tries to annex the holy sites and denies the Arabs their basic rights, all these resulted to the current state of explosion and escalation in the already existed crisis as a result of occupation and the Israeli policies.."

Khaddam added that the whole international community has become familiar with the complexities place by Israel before the peace process and that the Turkish side recognizes the dangers of the current condition.

He expressed in conclusion of his statement satisfaction over the results of the talks he held in Turkey concerning all debated issues.

Later in the day, Khaddam and members of the accompanying delegation returned back in Damascus following a two - day official visit to Turkey.