07/11/2006, 00.00
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Arab league chief in Damascus to discuss Gaza crisis with Hamas

by Jihad Issa
Head of fundamentalist movement's political office reiterates his group's demand for prisoners' swap.

Damascus (AsiaNews) – The Arab League is joining the fray to find a solution to the crisis in Gaza. For this reason its secretary general, Amr Moussa, arrived in Damascus where he met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, as well as Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas's Political Office.

For Syria's press today, the visit is designed to end the suffering of the Palestinian people following the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, especially Gaza, after the capture of Israeli corporal Shalit and the conditions set by Hamas for his release.

Officially, Meshal reiterated his group's refusal to make concessions as long as the "aggression" continues, insisting on a prisoners' exchange to solve the problem, and on the intervention by the Arab League.

In a statement released today by Syria's Presidency, Syrian authorities stressed the positive tone of the discussions between Assad and Amr Moussa.

During the talks, the two leaders examined the latest developments in Iraq and the need to convene a national reconciliation conference under Arab League patronage. They also insisted on the need to quicken efforts to establish healthy relations between Lebanon and Syria.

Meanwhile, led by Syrian and Palestinian speakers, a demonstration was held today in Damascus. Although such events are normally banned in the Syrian capital, demonstrators were able to take to the streets, crossing the central Youssef el-Azma Square, in solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression. People shouted anti-US and anti-Israel slogans and criticised the world's silence in the face of the massacre of the Palestinian people.

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See also
Some positive moves from Riyadh summit for Israel, not for Lebanon
Beirut hopeful following Saudi-Iranian summit
Signs of progress and reconciliation in Lebanon, says Amr Moussa
Will rockets from Lebanon against northern Israel open a new front?
Agreement between Vatican and Arab League


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