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Israeli envoy urges regime change in Syria and Iran - Guardian, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Israeli envoy urges regime change in Syria and Iran Ambassador to US calls for sanctions and diplomatic isolation Oliver Burkeman in Washington Tuesday April
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2003
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      Israeli envoy urges regime change in Syria and Iran
      Ambassador to US calls for sanctions and diplomatic
      Oliver Burkeman in Washington
      Tuesday April 29, 2003
      The Guardian


      Israel's ambassador to the US called for "regime
      change" in Iran and Syria yesterday as players in the
      Middle East staked out their positions before a
      crucial Palestinian vote that is expected to trigger
      publication of the American-backed "road map" to
      Removing Saddam Hussein was "not enough", said Daniel
      Ayalon. But war against Syria and Iran was not the
      answer, he added, advocating isolating them
      diplomatically, imposing economic sanctions and using
      "psychological pressure".

      The war in Iraq "has to follow through", he told a
      conference in Washington of the Anti-Defamation
      League, an organisation that campaigns against
      anti-semitism. "We still have great threats of that
      magnitude coming from Syria, coming from Iran."

      His remarks, likely to alarm doves in the Bush
      administration, came the day before the Palestinian
      parliament was expected to approve the cabinet of the
      newly appointed prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, the
      condition set down by President George Bush for the
      publication of the road map, which envisages a
      Palestinian state within three years.

      Mr Abbas and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat,
      brought an apparent close to five weeks of in-fighting
      yesterday when Mr Arafat's Fatah movement directed its
      members in the Palestinian parliament to approve the

      A cabinet member, Saeb Erekat, offered cause for
      optimism when he said a deal had been reached for US
      personnel to monitor the security provisions of the
      road map, resolving Palestinian demands.

      The Jordanian foreign minister, Marwan Muasher, said
      in Washington that Israel should end curfews and
      demolitions in the West Bank and Gaza as a start to
      the peace process.

      The road map has not been published, but according to
      numerous leaks its first phase calls on the
      Palestinian leadership to demand "an immediate end to
      acts of violence against Israelis everywhere".

      Mr Ayalon said the Palestinian prime minister would
      have to dismantle the infrastructures of groups such
      as Hamas and Islamic Jihad if there was any hope of

      "There cannot be a situation where we negotiate during
      the day and get killed at night," he said. Israel was
      "not going to [make it] as conditional for starting
      the process, but certainly the process cannot go
      forward if terror continues".

      A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Ariel
      Sharon, sought to play down Mr Ayalon's remarks on
      Syria and Iran. "These countries are a major threat.
      They have stated their ultimate aim is the destruction
      of the Jewish state," the spokesman said. "We do not
      prescribe the methods by which these regimes should be
      removed, but it's obvious we would want them to

      Mr Ayalon said governments should not allow Iranian
      leaders to visit, nor should they visit Iran, and he
      condemned the EU for encouraging commercial relations
      with Tehran.

      "I certainly do not see any aggressive military
      campaign ... Nobody is suggesting that," he told the
      conference. But "there are other means that can be
      exhausted ... the way to deal with Iran for instance
      is to delegitimise its regime and the way to do that
      is applying political pressure ... and economic

      But Buthaina Shabaan, a Syrian foreign ministry
      spokeswoman, said in a television interview that the
      remarks demonstrated the problems caused by the
      "Sharonian agenda ... all that Sharon wants to do in
      the region is wars and destruction".

      ยท Israeli troops yesterday captured two Palestinian
      militants allegedly responsible for planning a suicide
      bombing at a railway station last week that killed a
      security guard. They were caught in Nablus.

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