Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Former secretary of state Baker says talks with Syria could lead Hamas to recognize Israel

Former secretary of state Baker says talks with Syria could lead Hamas to recognize Israel

If the Bush administration opened a dialogue with Syria it could remove a major roadblock to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, Hamas's refusal to recognize the Jewish state, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III said Tuesday.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Baker said, "We could get them (Syria) to get Hamas to recognize Israel's right to exist. It would be a huge step in the right direction."
Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the State Department and the European Union, dominates the Palestinian government through its election a year ago.
The Bush administration has been reluctant to talk to Syria, citing its support for groups like Hamas. Baker was secretary of State under Bush's father, the first President George H.W. Bush.
Baker told the committee he had discussed the situation with senior Syrian officials on a trip to the country as co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel that recommended several changes in Bush's Iraq strategy. Most of the recommendations were passed over by the administration.
Baker said the United States in talks with Syria also "could get them to stop arming Hezbollah," a Lebanese militia backed by Iran that has a foothold in the Lebanese government and fought a war with Israel last summer.
The co-chair of the study group, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, said Syria has been "sending signals to us" that they want to talk to the United States.
The study group recommended the Bush administration hold talks with Iran as well as Syria and other countries in the region as part of a diplomatic effort to end the fighting in Iraq.
Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, who held talks in Syria in December with President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said "the administration has adopted the approach of an ostrich."
"And make no mistake. It is not working," he told the private Council on Foreign Relations.
Nelson said Assad had "indicated an interest" in discussing its border with Iraq. Nelsen said jihadists make their way into Iraq to fight U.S. troops.


Updated : 2021-10-22 21:40 GMT+08:00