Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Israel cancels Syrian opposition meeting

Israel's deputy minister for development of the Negev and Galilee Ayoob Kara

Source: Press TV

A meeting between an Israeli deputy minister and Syrian opposition members which was set to take place in Austria's capital, Vienna, has been canceled.

The meeting was scheduled to be held in the offices of Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), AFP quoted a spokesman for the party as saying.

Ayoob Kara, Israel's deputy minister for development of the Negev and Galilee, was initially scheduled to meet five Syrian opposition members to discuss the prospect of a Syria without President Bashar al-Assad.

But Kara -- an envoy for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- canceled the meeting due to “security reasons,” the report said.

The cancelation is also said to be due to Kara's reluctance to risk “jeopardizing” Israel's stance on the recent crisis in Syria.

Scores of people, including several security forces and soldiers, have been killed in Syria since the beginning of protests in mid-March.

While the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings, Syrian authorities blame armed groups and foreign elements for the violence, saying security forces have been given clear instructions not to hurt civilians.

Damascus says it has arrested several members of armed terrorist groups, who have confessed to receiving weapons and money from foreign organizations to kill civilians and security forces in a bid to cause chaos in the country.

Israel has so far supported the turmoil in Syria, claiming that it is in line with Tel Aviv's interests as it would weaken Damascus' ties with Iran, Lebanon's Hezbollah and the democratically elected government of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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