Syrian FM Moallem
Photo: AFP
Familiar with the draft agreements. Barak
Photo: IDF Spokesperon

Syria ready for peace, FM says

Syrian foreign minister says Damascus is ready to renew peace talks with Israel without preconditions, al-Hayat newspaper reports

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Moallem reiterated his country's interest in renewing peace talks with Israel without preconditions, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday.


"Syria is more than ready to renew peace talks with Israel, without preconditions by either side," Moallem was quoted as telling a senior European diplomat.


Moallem also said that Israel would find in Syria a serious "peace partner" should it chose to revive peace talks with Damascus.


Israel shunned repeated peace overtures by Syria in recent years, calling on Damascus to stop supporting Hizbullah and Hamas and to sever its ties with Iran to prove it is serious about peace.


The paper quoted Moallem as saying the his country expects the newly appointed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to press Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to renew peace talks with Syria.


"With Barak we will not start from zero because he is familiar with the details of draft agreements," said an Israeli expert, referring to the failed peace negotiations between Syria and Israel in 2000.


US President George W. Bush said Tuesday during a press conference with Olmert at the White House that Israel did not need Washington's approval to talk peace with Syria.


Olmert dismissed the allegations that the US was holding Israel back from negotiations with Syria: ''The United States never came to us with a demand not to have negotiations with the Syrians, and we never thought to ask permission,'' he said, adding that if the situation develops and allows for negotiations – negotiations will be held.


Olmert said he doubted the lack of negotiations would lead to immediate conflict with Syria. ''I believe that a war will not break out. We are not interested in it and I believe the Syrians are not interested in it. Certain statements can sometimes lead to miscalculations and we need to be wary of that," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 06.21.07, 10:36
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