Two Swiss diplomats who helped mediate unofficial talks between Israelis and Syrians visited Damascus this week to discuss ways of resuming formal peace negotiations, European diplomats said on Thursday.
State Secretary of Foreign Affairs Michael Ambuhl and Nicholas Lang visited Syria a week after an Israeli newspaper said an unofficial plan, focusing on an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, was drafted last year with Swiss mediation.
Israel has dismissed the framework for peace proposed by a former Israeli diplomat and Syrian-American businessman. Syria denied any negotiations took place, and state media did not report the Swiss diplomats' visit to Damascus.
But the Swiss embassy said Ambuhl met Foreign Minister Walid Moualem and Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah Dardari, who is close to President Bashar Assad.
"Mr. Ambuhl stressed Switzerland's support for all efforts to encourage dialogue between the conflicting parties," the embassy said in a statement.
"As a neutral country, Switzerland is well positioned to facilitate such dialogues. In this context, Switzerland welcomed Syria's repeated calls for a resumption of dialogue and peace talks with Israel."
The embassy statement made no mention of Lang, coordinator of Swiss Middle East peace efforts, being in Damascus.