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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

U.S.: No point for Israel to talk to a Syria that supports terror

Last update - 00:58 29/11/2006

U.S.: No point for Israel to talk to a Syria that supports terror

By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
There is no point for Israel to hold negotiations with Syria as long as the
latter continues to support and facilitate terrorism, United States National
Security Adviser Steven Hadley said on Tuesday.

"Here is Syria, which is clearly putting pressure on the Lebanese democracy,
is a supporter of terror, is both provisioning and supporting Hezbollah and
facilitating Iran in its efforts to support Hezbollah, is supporting the
activities of Hamas," Hadley said during a visit to Riga alongside President
George W. Bush for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

"This is not a Syria that is on an agenda to bring peace and stability to the
region, and I think Prime Minister Olmert said, under those circumstances,
with that kind of Syrian policy, how can you talk about negotiating on the
Golan Heights? Seems to me that's a sensible position."

This was the first time an American official has come out publicly in such
detail against the proposed negotiations.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has called on Israel numerous times to renew
talks, but has simultaneously hinted that Syria would be willing to take
military steps if talks did not succeed. Syria seeks the return of the Golan
Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. But peace talks between
the two countries broke down in 2000.

Olmert has rejected the Syrian president's invitations for negotiations. The
official Israeli position is that Syria must cease support of Palestinian
terror organizations and Hezbollah guerrillas before renewed negotiations can
be considered.

Meanwhile, a Market Watch poll released last week revealed that 57 percent of
Israelis support holding negotiations with Israel, but 54 percent said they
would be opposed to a withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

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