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Syria likely to shun peace parley

Syria reportedly intends to stay away from the U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.

The Bush administration said Sunday that it would invite Syrian and other Arab representatives to the parley on Palestinian statehood expected in November. That raised the prospect of Israeli-Syrian talks being held, albeit indirectly, under Washington’s aegis.

But Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday that Syria will likely shun the event given suspicions in Damascus that Israel and the United States do not seek substantive diplomatic progress. The Arabs want Israel to make concrete concessions to the Palestinians, while Israel wants a more general declaration of principles for peace.

“Syria attaches more importance to the content than the formalities,” a senior Syrian official told the daily. “We have no interest in going just to have our photos taken.”

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