FOREIGN AFFAIRS – SYRIA – 6 May 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: Do our Government take the position that our US allies are right to continue to include Syria in their list of states that are sponsors of terrorism?

[Jack Straw: Syria is one of the states in the region that supports rejectionist terrorist organisations operating in Israel and the occupied territories, and we look to Syria to recognise the new realities on the ground and to end such support.

... Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside): Does the Secretary of State agree that the information that the British-born terrorists who last week committed the Tel Aviv nightclub outrage received support from Damascus reinforces the need for Syria to remove itself from supporting terrorism? What specific actions are the Government taking to ensure that that end is achieved in order to give the road map to peace a chance?

Mr Straw: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis). The President of Syria and his colleagues have recently had many conversations on the matter, including with my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mike O'Brien), who is the Foreign Office Minister responsible, and with Secretary of State Colin Powell, who visited Damascus last week and delivered, as did my hon. Friend, very firm messages to the Syrian Government about their need to take fully into account the changed circumstances in the region.]

[For further developments, click here.]