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Syria offers up little response to claims it harbors terrorists

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syria's three official newspapers had a solution for the challenge presented by President Bush's criticism of their country: They simply left it out of their front-page reports Tuesday, while covering almost everything else Bush said in a Mideast policy speech closely watched across the Arab world.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa also chose eloquent silence in response to Bush's assertion that Syria was harboring terrorist groups, ignoring reporters' questions as he walked into a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Syrian political analyst Imad Shuaibi rejected Bush's comments. "This kind of approach -- 'you're either with us or against us' -- will not work with Syria. Politics is not black or white. Politics is compromise," Shuaibi said in an interview.

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