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Mottaki: Ceasefire, exchange of hostages with Israel to be considered

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Damascus, July 17, IRNA
Syria-Mottaki-Israel
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here Monday said that ceasefire and exchange of hostages with Israel should be taken into consideration.

After conferring with high-ranking Syrian officials on the extensive aggression on Lebanon and Gaza by the Zionist regime, he said, in an interview with IRNA, that a proper approach is required to solve the Middle East crisis.

The Iranian minister said that the conditions currently prevailing in the region are against the interests of the Zionist regime.

"Various countries are making contacts with one another in search of a solution to the crisis," he added.

In response to the question whether he conveys any initiative to stop Israel's attacks on Lebanon, he said that the Iranian officials are currently discussing the issue with various parties.

The minister said that in his meetings with the Syrian President Bashar Assad and other officials from this country bilateral relations and regional developments were discussed.

Mottaki referred to the aggressions of the Zionist regime on the Lebanese and Palestinian nations as `pre-planned'.

"Extensive attacks on Gaza Strip, detention of Palestinian ministers and members of parliament, destruction of residential areas and farmlands, taking the lives of innocent people including women and children on the one hand as well as attacks on various areas in Lebanon and smashing its economic infrastructures, bridges and killing people on the other show that the Zionist regime proceeded according to predetermined plans," he added.

The minister stressed that the great Islamic Ummah and public opinion of many countries have condemned these savage attacks.

Mottaki arrived in Syria Monday morning on a short working visit unexpectedly.

On hand to welcome him at Damascus international airport was Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmad Arnous.

Upon his arrival, he headed for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Iranian foreign minister is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad-Reza Baqeri.

Mottaki also conferred with the Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

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