Syria seeks to re-assert own role in critical talks

publisher: UPI

Publishing date: 1982-07-20

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Syria’s foreign minister is in Washington attempting to forge a new role for the Soviet Union’s main Middle East ally, which has been  militarily defeated in Lebanon.

But the outcome of his talks with President Reagan today will also determine the future of the Middle East for years to come — and whether Israeli forces will storm besieged Beirut in the next few days.

Abdel Halim Khaddam, the first Syrian foreign minister to visit the United States in a considerable time, meets Reagan together with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al Faisal.

Inside besieged Moslem Beirut, it is generally feared that Jerusalem may decide to storm the sector based if the Washington talks fail.

Officials expect Khaddam to focus on re-establishing Syrian influence in the Middle East and in Washington, and it is believed Syria’s refusal to grant refuge to Palestinian guerrillas trapped in west Beirut is not final.

 

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