Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during talks in France that he was willing to engage in negotiations with Syria without preconditions, the Syrian president's political advisor, Bouthaina Shaaban, said Friday.
Shaaban said President Bashar Assad had rejected the proposal and told his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, that this was "unacceptable".
"We will go to talks after Netanyahu gives us guarantees for the return of all Syrian land," Assad told Sarkozy, whom he met subsequently to Netanyahu's visit to Paris.
In response, Shaaban said, Sarkozy told Assad that Netanyahu had regarded his demands as a possible outcome of talks. But Assad insisted, "No, this is the location from which talks depart. The result of the talks is peace. If you want peace, the outcome will be peace."
Shaaban's revelations were carried by all of the Syrian news agencies as well as the Palestinian Al-Manar. She said Assad and Sarkozy had met for two hours and discussed the Iranian nuclear threat as well as Syria's relations with Turkey.
The Syrian president met Sarkozy last Friday, and claimed that there was "no Israeli partner for peace".
"Today, Syria wants peace. There is a mediator – Turkey – which is ready to resume mediation. There is also French and European support for this process. What we lack is a partner in Israel that is ready to move forward and ready to achieve results," he said.
"If Mr. Netanyahu is serious, he can send a team of experts to Turkey. They can talk to us if they are really interested," insisted the Syrian president at the end of lunch at the Elysee Palace.
"The Turkish mediator said he was quite ready to resume his role... if the Israelis are serious, they could move in that direction," he repeated.