After a day of diplomatic success, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his guests enjoyed a post-summit dinner in Paris. The red carpet reward came after Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union project got off the ground. Middle East peace and Iran were key topics.
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad warned a military attack on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear programme would have grave consequences for Israel, the US and the world. Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, faced with a corruption probe at home, was eager to talk up peace efforts. When journalists noted that the Syrian leader had left the room when Olmert made a speech, the summit’s co-host played things down.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak suggested his Syrian counterpart might have simply had other things to do, such as another meeting to attend. Mahmoud Abbas was not there either, he said.
Yet the summit saw expressions of optimism from both the Palestinian and Israeli leaders about the prospects for peace. The final communique also said member states would work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
Aside from the issues themselves, the summit signalled a spectacular emergence from isolation in the West for the Syrian President.