First Published: 2003-10-20

 
Spanish king meets Syrian leader in Damascus
 

King Juan Carlos I holds talks with Assad on first day of his visit to Syria at time of tense US-Syrian relations.

 

Middle East Online

Spain's royal couple on their first state visit to Syria

DAMASCUS - Spanish King Juan Carlos I marked the first day of his state visit to Syria Monday by holding talks with President Bashar al-Assad, under increasing US and Israeli pressure over alleged terror links.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara and his Spanish counterpart Ana Palacio also took part in the meeting.

Madrid condemned Israel's raid on a suspected militant Palestinian training camp near Damascus on October 5 - the first such attack in 30 years and one which Washington regarded as self-defence.

At the time, Palacio said "nobody can agree with the Israeli bombardment of Syrian territory," following a suicide bombing in Haifa, northern Israel, that killed 21 people apart from the Palestinian bomber.

The king's visit, accompanied by his wife Queen Sofia, comes at a time when US-Syrian relations are in the doldrums.

Last week the US House of Representatives voted a bill allowing the White House to slap economic and diplomatic sanctions against Damascus on charges of alleged terror links and its readiness to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The English-lanaguge government daily, Syria Times, hailed the royal visit as "an important event" that will "rectify the holes in the relations between the Arabs and the West" and "play a significant role in the dialogue between Islam and Christianity".

Talks will redress the "many misunderstanding in the West about Syria's attitudes towards Iraq and Palestinian resistance," the paper added.

Spanish diplomats say the trip is intended to foster "intensified political dialogue" between Damascus, Madrid and the European Union.

For the past six years, Syria has been negotiating a partnership accord with Brussels due to be signed at the end of 2003, after Assad ordered discussions to be stepped up a gear.

Two bilateral agreements were signed Monday in the presence of the Spanish royals and Syria's first couple on promoting investment as well as boosting cooperation in tourism.

 

Nine killed in luxury Tripoli hotel attack

Obama, Saudi king discuss IS fight, Iran

Clock ticking towards 24-hour IS deadline to kill hostages

Hezbollah claims attack on Israeli military convoy

Saudis pledge allegiance to new king on Twitter

Somali PM proposes new cabinet list

Syria opposition groups, Assad representatives meet in Moscow

Yemen’s Huthis free top presidential aide

French FM urges international cooperation against extremism

Three killed in Tripoli luxury hotel attack

UN harshly criticises Turkey for deterioration of human rights

‘Islamic State’ gives Jordan 24 hours before execution of hostages

Ex-Shebab chief urges others to surrender in first public appearance

Bomb kills and wounds three terrorists in Egypt's Alexandria

Three killed in protest against MINUSMA in Mali

Humanitarian crisis looms for thousands of families in southern Iraq

Rockets fired from Syria explode in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

Egypt Grand Mufti condemns actions of Muslim Brotherhood

Residents trickle back to Kobane after expulsion of jihadists

Obama comes to Saudi with heavyweight delegation

Cash-strapped UNRWA halts Gaza house repairs

Erdogan says Turkey opposed to Syrian Kurdistan

Baghdad flights suspended after ‘arms fire’ hits flydubai jet

'Constructive spirit' at Libya peace talks

US says Syria’s Kobane not fully liberated from IS

Egypt court orders release of Mubarak sons pending retrial

Drone targets Qaeda suspects in crisis-hit Yemen

Saudi Arabia seeks greater American role in Middle East crises

Iraq army announces liberation of Diyala from ‘Islamic State’

Tunisia parliament delays confidence vote on new government

After 4 months of fighting, Kurds expel ‘Islamic State’ from Kobane

Libya warring factions meet in Geneva to resume peace talks

Assad: US idea to train rebels illusionary

Tunisia's Ennahda rejects Essid cabinet line-up

Alleged Algerian jihadist arrested in Morocco

UN Security Council to on Yemen crisis

Obama vows to maintain pressure on Qaeda in crisis-hit Yemen

Gaza announces plans to ready sea port for international travel

Barrage of rockets rains down on Syria capital

Egypt extends Sinai state of emergency by three months

Syria ambassador to UN to head government team in Moscow talks

Qatar court tells US family to decide on fate of alleged killer

Gunmen kidnap Libya deputy foreign minister from hotel room

Erdogan visits war-torn Somalia amid tight security

New violence as Egypt marks anniversary of 2011 revolt