Syrian President Bashar Assad said 'intransigent Israel', not the US, was responsible for the failure of peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Speaking to reporters in Paris after a two-hour meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, the Syrian leader said American efforts to persuade Israel to impose another construction moratorium in the West Bank's Jewish settlements "have not worked," but added, "Why are we blaming the godfather? Before we blame the sponsor, we should blame the sides themselves. Again we see that Israel is not a partner for peace."
'Territorial restitution.' Assad in Paris (Photo: AFP)
Assad continued to say that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians shouldn’t focus on the settlements issue. “We are against putting settlements at the center of peace talks,” he said. “If we want to talk about peace, we have to talk about legal rights, about territorial restitution and not talk about the settlements.”
Also Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas insisted that he would not engage in peace talks with Israel while it continued to build in West Bank settlements.
"Israel has brought this process into a deep crisis," he said in Cairo, adding that there would be no secret meetings with the Israelis.
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