This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," July 18, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: President Bush says it looks to him that Syria is trying to get back into Lebanon more than a year after the end of a long-term military occupation. Is Syria doing this? Live from D.C. is Dr. Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Trying to get back into Lebanon?

MOUSTAPHA: Definitely not. I think President Bush has got it wrong. Besides, there is a contradiction here. The moment these hostilities started, on one hand, Syria said promptly that an immediate ceasefire should take place. On the other hand, President Bush, who is opposing the ceasefire, is saying that Syria is trying to benefit from these hostilities to go back to Lebanon. If he thinks we are benefiting from this, then he should work hard towards ending these hostile affairs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think he'd say that? Why do you think he'd say that?

MOUSTAPHA: Well, he's got the wrong information. The Lebanese people are being killed right now. Lebanon is being destroyed by Israel for the third time in 20 years. Syria has nothing to do whatsoever with this crisis and yet we are accused of this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has Syria in any way assisted Hezbollah?

MOUSTAPHA: We have to be sure about one thing. Hezbollah is not a puppet of Syria or of Iran, as is...


VAN SUSTEREN: Have you helped the militant faction?

MOUSTAPHA: We don't help Hezbollah literally. We help Lebanon. We are sending food and medicine to Lebanon. We have on our borders, 200,000 Lebanese have fled into Syria and many hundreds of Americans. We have waived the visa issue to Americans, and they are entering into Syria so they can find a safe haven.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about weapons that could -- anything to do with the Katyusha weapons?

MOUSTAPHA: We do not provide Hezbollah with weapons.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nothing? Have you done any sort of assistance at all in the fighting aspect of this?

MOUSTAPHA: You know, asking these questions about Syria is unfair. Syria is not doing anything, while Israel is actually killing civilians, women and children, and yet the focus of their attention is being directed towards Syria. It is unfair.

VAN SUSTEREN: The president of Iran has said that Israel should be destroyed. Do you agree with that?

MOUSTAPHA: Syria has repeatedly invited Israel to engage in peace talks so that we can have a comprehensive peace, they can give us back our occupied Golan and we can have normalized relations. This is the official position of Syria. We are very serious about this. There should be a resolution to the Middle East conflict.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does Israel have a right to exist, then?

MOUSTAPHA: When we are inviting Israel to sign with us a peace agreement...

VAN SUSTEREN: So in other words, yes.

MOUSTAPHA: ... what does this mean? Of course.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes? OK. Why do you think this happened?

MOUSTAPHA: You know, history did not start seven days ago in the Middle East. This is how it has been portrayed right now. But this is not the context. The context is the following. The occupation is the mother of all evils. Once we end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, of the Golan of Syria and of the...


VAN SUSTEREN: But they had pulled out of the Gaza. They had left Lebanon a long time ago. They were doing this. And all of a sudden, they get three soldiers kidnapped.

MOUSTAPHA: But let us talk about the imprisoned Israeli soldiers. While Hezbollah, on one hand, and Hamas on the other hand, have managed to capture three military Israeli soldiers, while this has happened, Israel right now, while we are talking, holds 9,500 Arab prisoners in prison, abducted by Israel, illegally imprisoned. Some of them are elected officials of the Palestinian National Assembly. Some of them are civilian cabinet ministers. Nobody cares for them.

Please, those are equal human beings. The Arabs as humans are equal to the Israelis...


VAN SUSTEREN: We've got to go, sir, but do you support what Hezbollah has done here?

MOUSTAPHA: What I support is what Hezbollah has called for, an immediate exchange of prisoners, particularly the...


VAN SUSTEREN: Do you support Hezbollah kidnapping those three soldiers?

MOUSTAPHA: Hezbollah took those two soldiers prisoner so that he can negotiate a release of prisoners on the Israeli side.

VAN SUSTEREN: So bottom line is, you support it.

MOUSTAPHA: We are supporting an immediate cease of hostilities and an immediate exchange of prisoners. Why not? Why don't you support the release of women and children imprisoned by Israel?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll give you the last word...


VAN SUSTEREN: You'll get the last word on this.

MOUSTAPHA: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir. Thank you for joining us.

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