Assad: Israel must withdraw to 67' borders, up to Tiberias
Syrian president vows no compromise possible over demand to see Israel cede all land captured in Six Day War as precondition for peace. Meanwhile Deputy PM Mofaz tours Golan, says agreement can be reached without relinquishing sovereignty over Heights
Israel must be prepared to return all Syrian lands captured in the Six Day War as part of any peace deal between the two sides, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in remarks published on Tuesday.
Briefing editors of United Arab Emirates newspapers during a visit to the Gulf Arab state, Assad also said US sponsorship would be essential in the next stage of indirect talks launched last month under Turkish sponsorship.
"At this stage we are not talking (with Israel ) about anything else. What is on the agenda is the return of all land," al-Khaleej newspaper quoted Assad as saying during a visit on Monday. "In direct negotiations we will tackle the details which include the files of water and relations and other matters.
"As for water there are international rules that govern these matters and are usually referred to, but if the question of water is intended for (Syria to) give up the (condition on) 1967 borders that stretch to Tiberias then there will never be a compromise on the 1967 borders."
Mofaz: Golan a strategic assetMeanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz toured the Golan Heights on Tuesday and addressed the negotiations. "At the moment, the renewal of the talks is in and of itself important, but the gap between talks and concessions is very wide," he said.
"We don't need to stir a frenzy over every expression of Syrian pining. The Syrians are not yet ready for peace, ceding the Heights would mean having the Iranians here, in the Golan Heights, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The Syrians are up to their necks in terrorism, and we need to know if they are genuinely seeking peace," said Mofaz.
"I know every piece of land in this region and I say today, as I have said in the past, that the Golan Heights is a strategic asset to Israel, and I have said this to the prime minister. I believe that in the long run, an agreement can be made without giving up the Golan."
Reuters contributed to this report