In a motion led by the United States, the Committee for the Middle East Peace Process known as ‘The Quartet’ called on Syria to expel the Islamic Jihad movement from its territories and close all its offices.
The demand was announced by U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke for about a half-hour by telephone with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and European diplomats Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
Apparently, the U.S. is making use of the current pressure that Syria is under in wake of the Mehlis report on the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Harriri, in which several Syrian top officials are accused of being involved in the assassination.
The Quartet also condemned the Hadera attack, in which five Israelis were killed.
Islamic Jihad said the Hadera bombing was carried out to avenge the killing by Israeli army of Islamic Jihad and other organizations’ operatives.
The Quartet called for restraint, communication between Israel and the Palestinians and said an escalation of violence should be avoided.
Despite the call on Syria, McCormack said he was not drawing link between the Hadera bombing and orders from Damascus, ‘but, I think it’s very clear that you have senior leadership of some of these groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, resident in Damascus,’ he said.