Syria astonished over Bush’s statements on Palestinian right of return

By Xinhua

Damascus : Syria expressed on Tuesday its astonishment over U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent statements that was said to “cancel” the Palestinian right of return, the official SANA news agency reported.

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“According to the international law, the American president doesn’t have a right to annul an international resolution that guarantees and preserves the right of return of the Palestinian refugees,” SANA quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying.

The Palestinian right of return was stipulated in UN Resolution194, which was adopted in 1948 and calls for the return of the Palestinian refugees and compensation paid to those who choose not to go back.

During his visit to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank city Ramallah on Jan. 10, Bush proposed a “new international mechanisms”, including compensation payments for Palestinian refugees as part of efforts to create a Palestinian state, without mentioning the long-anticipated “return right”.

“I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue,” Bush said in a statement delivered during the second day of his landmark visit to the region.

The return of the Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian border, are the most-protruding final-status issues which still await a preliminary agreement before they are put on the negotiation table.