Bashar: Did you say no Giolan Heights?
Photo: AP

Assad uninterested in peace talks without Golan

In a meeting with Secretary-General of League of Arab States, Syrian President Bashar Assad says that any peace plan without Golan Heights will not bring about just peace. Barak: We should reexamine question of peace with Syria

"Any peace initiative that does not include the Syrian Golan Heights is not serious and will not achieve a comprehensive, just peace in the region," said Syrian President Bashar Assad to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa in a meeting between the two on Wednesday. This according to a report by the Syrian Arab New Agency (SANA).


The two leaders discussed numerous regional issues such as the situation in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon as well as the preparations for the upcoming Arab League summit set to take place in Damascus.


Deputy Syrian President Farouk al-Shara, Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and his deputy Faisal Maqdad also participated in the meeting.


The Syrian president also emphasized the need for Arab solidarity. He said that only a joint Arab effort to face future challenges will protect Arab states from the dangers they face.


Earlier Wednesday, the al-Ahram newspaper, the Egyptian government's mouthpiece, reported that the Syrians had announced their intentions to attend the US-led peace conference scheduled to take place later this month in Annapolis, Maryland.


According to the report, Palestinian sources confirmed that Damascus had received assurances from Russia and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Syria would receive a public invitation to the conference.


Both the US and Israel view Syria's presence at the summit as desirable. The two countries agreed however that, should Syria be included in the talks, Israeli-Syrian issues will take a backseat to the Palestinian track.


Barak: Let's rethink Syrian negotiations

Meanwhile Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier this week that he supports a comprehensive peace initiative that would address Israeli-Syrian relations among other things.


Speaking at a forum on counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Barak said that only a broad initiative such as this can prevent Israel from being dragged into signing on to peace plans that are not in its interest - like the Arab initiative.


"We need to reexamine the possibility of conducting negotiations with Syria. It is possible that we need to change our outlook. This sort of change is likely to bring Israel a better outcome than expected," said Barak.


פרסום ראשון: 11.15.07, 17:34
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