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Monday, September 25, 2006

Report: Syria calls for peace with Israel

BERLIN (AP)- Syrian President Bashar Assad said in comments released Sunday that his nation wants "peace with Israel" and welcomed U.S. intervention in the region. But he also said Washington must listen to what people in the Middle East think if it wants positive change in the region.

At the same time, in an interview with Monday's edition of Der Spiegel weekly magazine, Assad blamed U.S. policies in the region for "contributing to hopelessness in our country, and to silencing the dialogue between cultures."

Only when the U.S. government considers the point of view of individual nations in the region will it be able to make progress, he was quoted as saying.

"America must listen," Assad said. "It must listen to the interests of others."

Assad compared Washington's approach to the war on terrorism to "a doctor constantly banging away at a tumor instead of removing it surgically."

"Terrorism is growing instead of declining," he said. "We both suffer from it, but the United States doesn't want to cooperate with us.

Assad also insisted that despite his close relationship with
Iran, he said he does not necessarily share President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's views on Israel.

"I don't say that Israel should be wiped off the map. We want to make peace — peace with Israel," Assad said.
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