compiled by Cem Ertür
25 January, 2009
Syria will be first rogue state to get Barack Obama charm offensive
Barack Obama will seek to befriend Syria and enlist the rogue state’s help in fighting terrorism, in what US officials see as the first test of his plans to talk to America’s enemies.
by Tim Shipman, Sunday Telegraph, 25 January 2009
Diplomats and Democrats in Washington have confirmed that Mr Obama wants to persuade the Syrian leader, Bashar Assad, to cooperate with the West, in the hope that he will loosen his country’s close ties to Iran, forcing Tehran to the negotiating table as well.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Obama pledged to speak to states like Iran and Cuba without imposing preconditions as the Bush administration did on any contacts.
But in conversations with allies since his election, Mr Obama has made clear that he believes the key to improving the political situation in the Middle East is to peel Syria away from its longstanding alliance with Iran, rather than to immediately start negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear weapons programme.
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