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Tags: Assad | Syria | Bashir | Iran

Syria Says Preparing for Israeli Aggression

Thursday, 25 February 2010 09:30 PM EST

JERUSALEM - Tension remained high on Israel's northern border yesterday, despite President Shimon Peres' statement that he did not foresee war with Lebanon in the near future.

Syrian President Bashar Assad, who yesterday hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus, said Syria was preparing for Israeli aggression.

While Peres called on Assad to choose between the axis of peace and the axis of evil, Assad emphasized the special relations between Damascus and Tehran. Ahmadinejad said he would advance a vision of a new Middle East with "no Zionists and no colonialists."

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said yesterday that Israel has no interest in a regional escalation.

Assad defied U.S. calls to curb its ties with Iran yesterday, saying his long-standing alliance with Tehran remains strong despite overtures from Washington intended to shift his loyalties. With Ahmadinejad by his side, Assad told America not to dictate relationships in the Middle East.

"I find it strange how they talk about Middle East stability and at the same time talk about dividing two countries," Assad told reporters when asked about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call on Wednesday for Syria to move away from Iran. Taking a further swipe at Clinton, he said that perhaps he and Ahmadinejad had misunderstood, due to a translation error or their own limited understanding.

In a show of unity, the two signed an agreement canceling travel visas between their countries.

To read full Haaretz story — Go Here Now.

© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, 25 February 2010 09:30 PM
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