Syrian President Bashar Assad spoke Monday at the opening of the Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar, and said that peace between Arab nations and Israel could not be reached without willingness on the part of the Jewish state.
"Israel killed the initiative, not the Doha summit," he said, referring to a 2002 Arab initiative that offered Israel normal ties in return for its withdrawal from Arab land seized in 1967.
Arab countries "have no real partner in the peace process. The arrival of a Rightist government makes no difference, because in Israel, the Right, the Left and the Center... all reflect a reality which is that Israeli society is not ready for peace," said Assad.
"This means clearly and unequivocally that, as the Arab side we do not have a true partner in the peace process… because Israel will not accept an initiative based on the terms of reference (of peace), which ensure the restoration of rights."
Contrary to his statement before the Arab League, Assad was quoted by the New Yorker Magazine Monday as saying that Damascus still believes an earnest dialogue with Jerusalem may still lead to peace.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report