Following the approval of the prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah, negotiations with Syria have undergone developments. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's envoys to Turkey, Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Turgeman, are set to leave for the third round of indirect talks with Syria.
On Monday Syrian President Bashar Assad dubbed the political climate in the Middle East "positive", and called on the EU to increase its involvement in the peace talks with Israel.
"The political climate in Israel is generally positive. We must give the different political processes a new push in order for them to proceed in the right direction," Assad said during a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store in Damascus. He was quoted by the official Syrian news agency Sana.
The president also called on Europe to "renew its role in the region, especially within the Israeli-Arab peace process," and emphasized his desire to strengthen ties between Syria and the European Union. The country has recently renewed ties with France as part of its talks with Israel.
Assad also stressed "the significance of achieving unity between the Palestinians in order to break through the deadlock relating to the Palestinian territories."
In two weeks France plans to host a Middle East peace conference in Paris, to which Assad and Olmert have been invited. The EU's envoy to Israel Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal told Ynet on Monday that there was no need to pressure the sides into making a deal. "At the moment it seems like no one wishes to pressure the sides just to get a handshake," he said.