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06DAMASCUS4609 2006-09-21 13:13:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Damascus
Cable title:  

Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Iran, UNGA Session,

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1. Summary: Syrian papers today reported the visit to Damascus
of Ali Larijani, Head of the Iranian Supreme National Security
Council, and his meetings with President Asad and VP Shara,
focusing on regional and international developments, especially
in Iraq, Lebanon, and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Larijani briefed Asad and Shara on developments in the Iranian
nuclear file.

On the UNGA session, papers reported that FM Mouallem met on the
sidelines with Iraqi President Jalal Talbani. The two expressed
their common desire to establish good relations. FM Mouallem
also met with FM Erkki Tuomioja of Finland, which currently holds
the EU Duty Presidency, and with FMs of the People's Republic of
China, Greece, Indonesia, Holland, and Slovakia, the EU
Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and
the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic
Papers also reported that Patriarch Gregorius III Lahham of
Antioch and All the East for Roman Catholics sent a letter to the
Muslims of the world apologizing for the Pope's anti-Islam
statement. He underlined solidarity with Muslims in the Arab and
Moslem worlds, showing understanding of their feelings.
End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad reviews developments in the Iranian nuclear file
and situation in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq with Larijani, Head
of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. Vice President
Farouk Shara confirms Iran's right to possess nuclear technology
for peaceful purposes, and stresses the need to deal with the
Iranian nuclear file in accordance with international rules"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/21)
"UN General Assembly continues activities: Ahmadi Nejad: The
Security Council has become a place for superpowers to guarantee
their own interests. Chavez: the USA sponsors and protects
terrorism" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/21)
"Al-Mouallem meets his Spanish, Italian and Cypriot counterparts
and discusses with them the situation in Lebanon and Syria's
dialogue with Europe. Moratinos and D'Alema confirm Syria's main
and important role in the region" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
"Syria's speech at the 50th IAEA conference in Vienna: Israel's
exclusive possession of nuclear weapons without any international
supervision is destroying the peace process in the region.
"Lebanese circles wonder about the government's position and the
silence of March 14th powers regarding Israeli violations.
Israeli Occupation forces break into areas in south Lebanon and
arrest three Lebanese, while Israeli warplanes continue violating
Lebanese airspace" (Government-owned Tishreen, 9/21)
"Scores of Iraqis killed in explosions in Baghdad and Samurra.
Three US soldiers killed. Expectations of increasing attacks"
(Government-owned Tishree, 9/21)
"Three Palestinians martyred in Gaza. Israel breaks into
Palestinian banks. Hanieh renews rejection of the Quartet's
conditions. A national unity government is frozen until the
return of Abbas" (Government-owned Tishreen, 9/21)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:


"Talk Is Free"


Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(9/21): "The world and its peoples are accustomed to hearing
elegant and flowery words from most of the speakers at UN General
Assembly sessions. Year after year we hear speeches about the
need for international peace, love, dialogue, abandonment of
weapons of mass destruction, and so on. But this remains useless
talk. The resolutions and the recommendations of every UN
General Assembly session remain locked in drawers, even though
they are not binding, contrary to Security Council resolutions,
especially those issued under Chapter Seven, which appear to have
been designed specifically against the Arabs....

"The United Nations has become a weapon in the hands of
superpowers, specifically the United States.... These superpowers
opposed reforms that other nations tried to introduce to the
international organization....
"The international situation today is very serious. Tensions,
explosions, and flagrant interferences have made instability in
all parts of the world the rule, not the exception. This has
driven observers and concerned parties to warn that the United
Nations might face the fate of the League of Nations. All
indications are that this warning is legitimate and


"The UN, Disappointing Wager"


Hanan Hamad, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(9/21): "The US position toward the Arab League's attempt to
revive the Arab peace plan in the Security Council shows that the
United States has no desire for a comprehensive peace process
that might defuse the increasing mines of tension in the

"We wonder how the UN General Assembly can help settle the Arab-
Israeli conflict while all its previous resolutions are
frozen.... The UN General Assembly session can only be seen as an
oratorical platform for the presentation of divergent views."


"Questioning Criminals is What Counts"


Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(9/21): "The UN human rights commissioner has announced that a
three-man team will investigate Israel's human rights violations
in Lebanon and prepare a report on the results of its
findings.... Of course Israel will not be held accountable for
its violations, because of Washington's support for Tel Aviv....

"It will be the responsibility of the United Nations to regain
its credibility regarding its resolutions and the issues of human
rights which are violated continuously, especially in the Middle
East as a result of Israeli aggression and occupation....

"What matters at the end of the day is to hold criminals to
account, not to add another report to the reports that have
filled the drawers of the United Nations and have become covered
by dust without seeing the light of day."