Syrian President Bashar Assad
Photo: AFP
Report: Syria ready for talks with Israel
French sources tell al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper leaders in Damascus taking 'pragmatic approach, willing to talk with Netanyahu' despite 'doubts and reservations. Sources add Syria won't 'take single step forward' without Israel committing to retreat from Golan Heights

Syria is ready to negotiate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French sources told Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat in a report published on Thursday.


The sources, which met with leaders in Damascus, said the Syrians expressed their "doubts and reservations" about Netanyahu and his government, since they say this government has no desire to hold talks with Syria regarding the Golan Heights or try to reach a peace agreement.


Nonetheless, Damascus told Paris that, "Out of a pragmatic approach, we are willing to negotiate with Netanyahu."


The sources added that Syria "will not take a single step forward" until the Israeli government commits to retreating from the Golan Heights.


According to the sources, such a commitment would be the "magic word" that could restart peace negotiations between the two nations.


In exchange, according to the report, Syria is willing to reexamine its timetable and its security arrangements that will enable an "international umbrella" for any agreements made either by the US, European Union or the United Nations.


The French sources told al-Sharq al-Awsat that Damascus "sees itself today in a satisfactory position" regarding a number of issues over which it was criticized in the past.


According to Syria, the most significant change can be seen in the approach of the US, that has reopened channels of dialogue with Damascus and has stressed it is willing to send its ambassador back to the Syrian capital.


Just three days ago, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said that Israel was placing obstacles in the way to peace by continuing its policy of siege, settlement and isolation.


He added that the international community should pressure Israel into acting on the "call to peace".


פרסום ראשון: 07.16.09, 10:47
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