Sarkozy asks Syria to pressure Hamas for ceasefire

January 6th, 2009 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Damascus, Jan 6 (Xinhua) France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy Tuesday asked Syria to pressure Hamas to return to a ceasefire and help achieve a solution to the escalation in the Gaza Strip. “Syria can offer a solution in Gaza. Syria indicated that it was working for peace and I have no doubt it would make all efforts to reach a solution,” Sarkozy told a press conference after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He added that Assad could play a role in persuading Hamas to halt rocket fire and work towards national reconciliation, urging Syria to “convince Hamas to choose the voice of reason and path of peace and reconciliation”.

Sarkozy called for cooperation of all parties, saying: “We want an immediate solution by all parties, including Syria, Egypt and Europe, Turkey and the circle of peace, and we will get out of the cycle of violence.”

Assad, whose country has long been a supporter of Hamas, condemned again the “barbaric” attacks on Gaza as a “war crime”, which he said “need to be stopped immediately”.

The Syrian president, currently holding the rotating presidency of the Arab summit, reiterated his call for an emergency Arab summit, stressing Syria’s readiness to exert all efforts and cooperation with all parties to reach a solution in Gaza.

Sarkozy is currently on a Middle East tour in a bid to seek a ceasefire in Gaza, which has taken him to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank. He will head for Beirut after leaving Damascus.

Israel launched air strikes in Gaza Strip Dec 27 and ground operation Jan 3 in response to Hamas’ rocket attacks into Israel. At least 540 Palestinians have been killed and some 2,500 others wounded in the Israeli attack.

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