Syria rejects Reagan plan; issues warning

publisher: UPI

Publishing date: 1983-01-14

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 Syria has rejected President Reagan’s Middle East peace plan to ‘impose American-Zionist hegomony’ on Arabs and warned it will thwart any Lebanese-Israeli pact threatening Syrian interests.

State-run Damascus Radio said today that Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam made the statements at a Thursday meeting of the 49-member Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in Managua, Nicaragua

State-run media in Damascus denounced Reagan’s plan immediately after it was unveiled last Sept. 1 but Khaddam’s comments marked the first time a high-ranking Syrian official has openly rejected the plan.

The radio broadcast carrying Khaddam’s statements was monitored in Beirut.

The United States and Israel ‘aim at turning the Arab region into a colony and vital space for the imperialist system, which is trying to repartition the world and subject it to subservience,’ Khaddam reportedly said.

Syria rejects any plan not based on ‘the complete withdrawal (of Israel) from all occupied Arab territories and the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,’ Khaddam reportedly said.

An estimated 30,000 Israeli forces currently occupy parts of southern and eastern Lebanon. Israel also occupies the West Bank and Gaza Strip, seized during a 1967 war with Jordan.

Khaddam reportedly said Palestinian rights include ‘their right to repatriation, self-determination and the establishment of their independent state on their national soil.’

The Syrian foreign minister reportedly called Reagan’s Middle East initiative ‘a plan to impose American-Zionist hegemony on the Arabs,’ adding that collective Arab action must be taken to counter the American bid.

Reagan’s Middle East plan calls for a Palestinian entity — but not an independent Palestinian state — on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip under Jordanian auspicies.

Khaddam also said Syria ‘will resist and try to thwart any attempt to impose any agreement that infringes on Lebanon’s unity and sovereignty over its territory, or infringe on Syria’s security and its interests.’

He said his country would resist any plan not based on ‘the complete withdrawal (of Israel) from all occupied Arab territories and the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to repatriation, self-determination and the establishment of their independent state on their national soil.’

 

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