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Turkey, Syria to have second strategic council meeting next week
"The second prime ministerial-level meeting of an intergovernmental strategic council between Turkey and neighboring Syria will be held in Ankara next week, diplomatic sources said on Monday.
The first prime ministerial-level meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council was held in İstanbul in December 2009. The second meeting will be held in Ankara on Dec. 21 and will be co-chaired by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Syrian counterpart, Muhammad Naji al-Otari, the sources said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not expected to attend talks in Ankara, diplomatic sources said. Yet, Assad is likely to arrive in İstanbul in the following days, probably on the occasion of a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which will be held on Dec. 23 in İstanbul, sources familiar with the issue told Today's Zaman. Syria is not a member of the ECO.
The High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council between Ankara and Damascus has so far held two ministerial-level meetings. The first one was held in mid-October 2009, the first part of the meeting being held in Aleppo and the second in Gaziantep, as the two countries symbolically abolished the border between them.
The second ministerial meeting was held in October of this year in the Syrian port city of Latakia, where the two sides agreed that an already existing framework security cooperation arrangement, based on the Adana Protocol, which was signed in 1998 and paved the way for improved Turkish-Syrian bilateral relations, would be expanded."
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on the occasion of the Day of Ashura, (10th day of Muharram), a day of mourning for Shiite Muslims
"Today we can say that Israel is in a strategic predicament, due to the failure of the American project. There is a new environment and Israel faces the choice of compromise with the Palestinians and then the Syrians. Netanyahu and Lieberman’s government does not want this choice, so these negotiations will not reach any result in spite of the incentives offered to Israel in exchange for a three month settlement freeze that was refused. Israel basically refuses negotiations.
- The second choice Israel has is war in Lebanon or Gaza. Under current circumstances Israel is unable to start a war and will not open a war on any front unless the results are guaranteed. She cannot bear new defeats. I am not saying that the choice of war is impossible, but it is a dangerous choice for Israel.
- The third choice is for the situation to remain as it is – no war, and no compromise, awaiting international and regional changes that could help Israel. Today Israel prefers this third choice, benefiting from time to judaize Jerusalem and rebuild strength. But there is a problem with this third choice because it gives the enemies of Israel time to build their own strength. Barak is attempting the impossible [when he tries] to stop Hezbollah’s armament, and Iran is growing in strength, and Syria as well.
- The second problem facing Israel is that she is losing more regional allies. Thirty years ago they lost the Shah, and today they lost Turkey. Israel is worried about the future and there is a demand for Israel to move and confront those powers working day and night to confront her. They are seeking international sanctions against Iran and used the world to besiege the Resistance with UN Security Council Resolution 1559. They are continually working through regimes, funds, the media, persons, elite, and intelligence agencies to sow domestic strife. Israel’s only hope for escaping from this strategic predicament is this choice."
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