Syrian envoy downbeat on Annapolis

Syria’s ambassador to the United States spoke out against the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian peace parley.

Imad Moustapha said Wednesday that the U.S.-sponsored conference, which is expected to take place at month’s end in Annapolis, Md., and to include several Arab leaders, will likely not deliver real diplomatic progress.

“We don’t seriously believe that this is a peace conference that will lead to anywhere,” Moustapha said during an appearance in San Francisco. “Forgive us if we deduce that this is only about a photo opportunity and about people in Washington, D.C., telling their electorate, ‘Look, don’t accuse us of only starting wars; we’re working for peace in the Middle East.’ “

Though invitations for Annapolis have yet to be issued, Israel and the United States have voiced interest in Syria attending. But they have made it clear that Syria cannot expect the conference to focus on its own demand that Israel return the Golan Heights for a bilateral peace deal.

Damascus has yet to make a final decision on whether to attend Annapolis, if invited.

“Personally, if my government will ask my opinion, I will say it will be a waste of money, buying those expensive airline tickets and reservations in hotels, just to come attend this event in Maryland and then go back to Syria,” Moustapha said.

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