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  Friday, September 20, 2019
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The United States is a key player in the Middle
The United States is a key player in the Middle East peace process, while Russia lacks clout, Syria's president said on Tuesday.

"This was also the case during the Soviet era," Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with the Qatar newspaper Al Watan, going on to state that, "The U.S. plays a leading role in the peace process in the Middle East due to its special relationship with Israel."

He also doubted the viability of a Middle East peace conference in Moscow, pointing out that neither its time frame, nor format or agenda has been defined yet.

Russia, a member of the Quartet of Mideast mediators, has offered to host a conference in Moscow as a follow up to last November's U.S-sponsored meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.

Assad added that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Damascus in March had done nothing to clarify the situation.

"Should the conference take place after all, it is unlikely to be a success due to Israel's uncompromising position," the Syrian president said.

He also offered the opinion that an intermediary capable of exerting effective pressure on Israel was critical to the success of the peace process, saying however, that, "Russia is unable to pressure Israel today, just as it was unable to in the past."


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