Assad with Sarkozy in Paris
Photo: AP

Assad: Syria wants peace talks

Syrian president tells French counterpart in Paris that his country wants to resume peace talks with Israel through Turkish mediation, but feels there is no 'Israeli partner willing to move forward, achieve results'

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Friday in Paris that there was no "Israeli partner willing to move forward" in peace talks.


The statement was made just two days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a direct dialogue with Damascus.


"Today, Syria wants peace. There is a mediator – Turkey – which is ready to resume mediation. There is also French and European support for this process. What we lack is a partner in Israel that is ready to move forward and ready to achieve results," he said.


"If Mr. Netanyahu is serious, he can send a team of experts to Turkey. They can talk to us if they are really interested," insisted the Syrian president at the end of lunch at the Elysee Palace with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.


"The Turkish mediator said he was quite ready to resume his role... if the Israelis are serious, they could move in that direction," he repeated.


Nicolas Sarkozy met in Paris on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


The latter, during this interview, said he was "ready to meet the Syrian President at any time and anywhere to resume peace negotiations without any preconditions", according to a senior Israeli official who accompanied Netanyahu Paris.


After a freeze of eight years, in May of 2008 Israel and Syria resumed indirect peace talks with Turkey acting as mediator.


The negotiations were interrupted during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, but for several weeks signals coming from both Israel and Syria show that both countries are open to resuming talks.


"Syria has no conditions, Syria has rights and Syria will never yield on those rights," Assad said Friday in an allusion to the Golan Heights, which Damascus demands in exchange for peace.


פרסום ראשון: 11.13.09, 17:31
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