Assad. Waiting for answers?
Photo: AFP
Report: Syria waiting for Israel for talks
Al-Hayat newspaper reveals Turks planned to have Jerusalem, Damascus answer each other's questions regarding borders, security before going to direct talks. Syria reportedly responds while Israel gives no reply
Damascus is waiting for responses to six questions sent to Israel through Turkish mediation regarding the future of the Golan Heights, the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported on Thursday.


According to the report, Turkey proposed a plan to both parties that would help the talks progress. According the plan, Israel would present Syria with six questions regarding security matters and the Syrians would pose six questions to Israel regarding borders.


Syria reportedly gave its six responses to the Turkish mediators, but requested not to have them given to Israel until Israel provided its responses to Syria's questions.


It was also reported that Syria would not agree to move on to direct talks until the answers were given.


A source close to the talks said France got the impression that both Israel and Syria were interested in moving forward with negotiations, but at this point, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would have a hard time doing so due to the general elections period.


Meanwhile, Damascus on Wednesday congratulated Hilary Clinton on her appointment as American secretary of state, and a Syrian source told al-Watan newspaper that this appointment showed US President-elect Barack Obama's aspirations towards a just peace in the Middle East.


Last month, Syrian President Bashar Assad accused Israel of being insincere in its statements of ambition for peace with its Arab neighbors.


"For Israel, peace is a tactical act and not a strategic choice," said Assad, "Israel should give proof of its desire for peace, since it is the Israelis who occupied our land."


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