Arab diplomats told the newspaper that Damascus has been asked to take a neutral stance and refrain from negatively affecting the talks, which are set to kick off in Washington on September 2.
According to one of the diplomats, Syria has also been asked to tone down statements coming from Palestinian organizations based in its territory, particularly Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, against the peace process.
The West demanded that Syria prevent these movements from "taking any action within Palestine that will have a negative effect on the direct talks," said the Arab source. Damascus rejected the demand and said it would "not intervene in the Palestinian faction's position," the diplomat told the newspaper.
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calls for bi-monthly, face-to-face meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the peace negotiations.
In an interview with BBC in Arabic on Saturday, Erekat said, "The main issue is whether or not Netanyahu will bring an end to settlement construction," adding that he hopes the Israeli government will "choose peace and announce the end of settlement construction."
On Friday senior Hamas figure Khalil el-Haya told a rally in Gaza that the Palestinian Authority "does not represent Palestine, the refugees, Jerusalem or al-Aqsa.
"We warn them not to negotiate on our behalf," he added.
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