A party of foreign diplomats walked through the ruined streets of the Golan Height's city of Kuneitra on Tuesday (2 July).
GV PAN Wrecked streets of Kuneitra
SV Flag PAN DOWN To rubble
MV Mayor of Kuneitra (left) shakes hands with visiting diplomats
GV PAN ACROSS wrecked buildings
SV Diplomats inspecting wreckage
SV PAN wrecked buildings (2 shots)
SV PAN Diplomats and party (2 shots)
SV Rubble PAN To diplomats (3 shots)
SV INT Mayor making speech
GV Audience listening (3 shots)
Initials AE/1.12 AE/1.29
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Background: A party of foreign diplomats walked through the ruined streets of the Golan Height's city of Kuneitra on Tuesday (2 July). One envoy said he had never seen such devastation.
Italian Ambassador Unberto Buzzini commented: "I have never in my life seen destruction to a city - even during World War Two - as happened in Kuneitra."
Kuneitra, the provincial capital, was handed back to Syrian civil administration last week under the disengagement agreement -- thus bringing to an end seven years of Israeli occupation.
The new city Governor, Nayef Nofal, told the visitors: "It is scientifically and historically established that Kunietra did not suffer tangible damage during the 1967 War. But the Israeli forces pulled down the buildings and used the stones to set up fortifications. They then destroyed another section of its houses in 1970 under the pretext of replying to commando operations".
The United States Charge D'Affaires, Thomas Scotes, spoke of a "tragedy and British Ambassador David Roberts said: "It is tragic and shocking to see an entire city in ruins."
Kuwaiti Ambassador Addullah Ahmed Hussein called for Arab help towards the cost of rebuilding Kuneitra.
"This brutal destruction will not deter the Arabs, but will increase their determination to pursue the struggle for the freeing of every inch of their territory", he commented.
The heads of Arab and other foreign diplomatic missions accredited to Syria were accompanied on their six-hour tour by Syrian Assistant Foreign Minister Mohammed Zakariya Ismail, senior officials and foreign correspondent