Olmert: No Arab country will sponsor Mashaal

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
In a meeting with a senior delegation from the United States Senate, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that the current regime in Damascus is not interested in peace, and continues to support extremists in Lebanon and Iraq, terror organizations in the Palestinian Authority, and is a major ally for the Iranian regime.

The meeting with the prime minister included senior senators such as Sen. John McCain (Arizona), Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut), Susan Collins (Maine), John Thune (S. Dakota), and Congressman Mark Kirk (Illinois).

Olmert added that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is currently sitting in Damascus because no other Arab state in the region is willing to give him sponsorship and support.

During the meeting, the senators spoke about the Baker-Hamilton report and emphasized that they think the report is an important document which will bring to a widespread political debate, but is not a document which will turn into official US policy, including opposition to opening dialogue with Iran and Syria. The senators expressed their steadfast opposition for dialogue with the Assad regime in Syria.

During the meeting Olmert spoke about the situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and his efforts to advance open dialogue between moderates in the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Olmert said that there is slow progress in the talks with the Palestinians, and he intends to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in order to advance the different issues on the agenda.

Olmert also emphasized that despite the fact that the Kassam fire has not stopped, Israel has been keeping its side of the ceasefire. In addition, Olmert spoke about the humanitarian assistance Israel is giving to the Palestinian population without helping out the extremist elements that support terror.

During the meeting the Iranian issue also came up and a full understanding was reached that the regime in Iran, which calls for the destruction of Israel and seeks nuclear weapons, should be condemned. PM Olmert emphasized that the sanctions on Iran are of great importance and that the efforts of the US are contributing to the general efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear technology for weapons.

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