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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Assad, Ahmadinejad vow to cooperate against US, Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday night pledged to cooperate to confront US and Israeli plans in the Middle East.

We should cooperate and work to make the public aware of the sinister aims of the United States and the Zionists," Assad said after his meeting with Ahmadinejad, according to the state-run IRNA agency.

"Iran and Syria support the peoples of the region and the enemies will only reach their goals by creating pessimism and disunity amongst Muslims," he added.

Assad went on to say that the United States had suffered many failures in Iraq and, therefore, was bringing up "baseless charges" against Iran and Syria day after day to create fresh challenges in the region.

Ahmadinejad concurred with the Syrian president saying that "we should be careful about the enemies' efforts to create division and conflict amongst Muslims and make sure they do not reach their sinister goals."

"Under the current conditions Islamic countries must preserve their vigilance, unity and wisdom to prevent the establishment of new conspiracies," he added.

Ahmadinejad also voiced his support for the new Palestinian Authority unity government stressing that conflicts among Muslim groups would only serve the interests of the "enemies of Islam."

Assad was given a red-carpet welcome at the Presidential Palace in the Iranian capital, the Iranian state-run television reported.

The US has accused Iran and Syria of not doing enough to stop militants crossing from these countries into Iraq to join the insurgency. Both have rejected the charges.

It was Assad's fifth visit to Iran since he took office in 2000. Iran and Syria have long been close allies. During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Syria was the only Arab country to support Iran.

During the past 10 years, Iranian companies have invested more than $700 million in Syria, in sectors such as power generation, automobiles, cement and agriculture.

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