Syria dismisses 'rumours' it supported Libya regime

Muallem during talks with Jimenez

DAMASCUS - Syria on Tuesday dismissed allegations it had provided military support to the regime of Libyan strongman Moamer Gathafi which is battling a deadly insurgency.
"We are not taking sides in favour of one party or the other," said Foreign Minister Walid Muallem at a news conference with his Spanish counterpart Trinidad Jimenez.
"We do not support militarily any of the parties," he said of "rumours and reports of military support" to the Libyan regime and dismissing allegations "Syrian pilots had participated in air strikes on (rebel-held) eastern Libya."
Muallem said Damascus advocates a diplomatic solution to the Libyan crisis, and called for a ceasefire between pro-regime forces and rebels so that "dialogue can begin between the Libyan brothers."
He reiterated Syrian opposition to any "military intervention in the affairs of the region," pointing to the "painful and dangerous" experiences of Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon and Gaza.
Syria and Algeria were the only two countries to voice reservations on the Arab League's March 12 decision in favour of a no-fly zone in Libya.
Damascus was concerned that an Arab endorsement of a no-fly zone on Libya would pave the way for foreign military intervention, the Syrian delegate to the Arab body said.