King Abdullah with President Assad
Photo: AFP
Netanyahu - Keen to meet with Abdullah
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

'Abdullah to relay message from Assad'

Arab official with ties in Damascus, Amman says PM Netanyahu to receive message on renewal of talks with Syria from Jordanian king

Ynet has learned from an Arab source that Syrian President Bashar Assad plans to relay a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding Syria's position on the continuation of indirect dialogue with Israel.


The message in question was recently communicated to King Abdullah II of Jordan, who will in turn share the information with Netanyahu during a possible visit by the prime minister to the Hashemite Kingdom prior to his scheduled trip to Washington this coming Saturday.


King Abdullah was quoted earlier this week as warning that in the absence of regional peace the world stands to see severe conflict ensue in the Middle East within the next year and a half.


"All eyes will be looking to Washington," the king said in an interview with the London Times shortly before visiting Damascus. "If there are no clear signals and no clear directives to all of us, there will be a feeling that this is just another American government that is going to let us all down."


The Arab source, an official with ties in both Amman and Damascus, has previously reported on the indirect talks between Assad and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He added that the Syrian president was trying to showcase his positive intentions following US President Barack Obama's decision to renew the sanctions on his country last week.


'No preconditions for talks'

The signals from Damascus have so far not garnered enthusiastic reactions in Jerusalem. Netanyahu's people have been careful to put the emphasis on the renewed American sanctions and the fact that Syria has demanded Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights as a prerequisite to additional dialogue between the two countries.


The window of opportunity, however, will not be shut from Jerusalem's side of things. High-ranking officials said on Wednesday night that Netanyahu returned from his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at Sharm el-Sheikh talking of the necessity of adopting a regional peace agreement.


As for Syria, the officials reiterated that any negotiations must be held without preconditions. They also

noted Netanyahu's recent speech at the Likud minister's forum, in which he explicitly vowed that Israel would not cede the Golan.


Sources in Jerusalem confirmed that Netanyahu is keen on meeting the Jordanian king ahead of his trip to the White House, regardless of any messages from Assad. However a senior aide in the Prime Minister's Office insisted that no date has been set for such a meeting. One official told Ynet, regarding talk of a possible meeting between Abdullah and President Shimon Peres, that there had been a request on Jordan's part that there be no discussion of the matter.


פרסום ראשון: 05.14.09, 01:31
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