Syria snubs US call to cool Iran relations

Dubai: In a major snub to the US, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Syria yesterday, by cancelling visa restrictions between the countries and vowing cooperation.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was trying to get Syria to cool off its 30-year alliance with Tehran.

“We must have understood Clinton wrong because of bad translation or our limited understanding,” Al Assad said sarcastically.

“We tell them that instead of interfering in the region’s affairs, to pack their things and leave,” Ahmadinejad added. His visit comes as the US is trying to normalise its strained relations with Syria. Most analysts have been sceptical that US rapprochement with Syria would be enough to hurt its alliance with Iran.

“Real peace talks with Israel and the restoration of the Golan Heights will be the only incentive for Syria to cool its relations with Iran, and that is unlikely to happen soon,” Murhaj Jouejati, Political Science Professor at George Washington University told Gulf News.

Ahmadinejad said cooperation between the two countries will only grow. He was slated to meet with Hamas and Hezbollah officials later in the day. “We have the same goals, same interests and same enemies.”


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