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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Who is holding up Syria-Israel peace?

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/12/who-is-holding-up-syria-israel-peace.html

From time to time we see complaints that Israel is at fault for stalled peace negotiations with Syria. Let's set the record straight. In any case the ball is in Syria's court.  
 
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a message Tuesday, saying Israel is still awaiting an answer from Damascus on the possibility of reviving peace talks.
....
 
According to a Foreign Ministry intelligence assessment presented Monday, Syria is waiting out the Bush presidency, and only intends to enter a serious diplomatic process with Israel when the next United States administration takes over in 2009.
 
"Damascus is interested in an agreement with Israel, but only according to Syria's conditions and with American involvement," Nimrod Barkan, who heads the ministry's political research department, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
 
In other words, the peace talks with Israel are only a way of forcing the United States to grant legitimacy to the odious and repressive Assad regime.
 
Ami Isseroff
 
Last update - 21:28 25/12/2007       
Olmert to Assad: Israel awaits your response on reviving talks
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
 
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a message Tuesday, saying Israel is still awaiting an answer from Damascus on the possibility of reviving peace talks.
 
Olmert met with United States Senator Arlen Specter and gave him the message, which will be delivered to Assad when Specter meets with the Syrian president on Thursday.
 
Specter, a Jewish Republican from Pennsylvania, is considered one of his party's biggest supporters of reviving the dialogue with Syria. The senator told Olmert during their meeting that he intends to meet with senior officials in the Syrian regime, and asked whether the prime minister would be interested in advancing the diplomatic process with Damascus.
 
Olmert told Specter that he has been examining in recent months the possibility of restarting mediated negotiations with Syria. "I am still examining the Syrian track and Damascus' seriousness," said the prime minister. "I have not finished examining the issue, but I have yet to receive a clear answer [from Syria] and am therefore still waiting."
 
Jerusalem sources said that "despite the fact that Olmert did not explicitly request that the message be transferred to Assad, we assume that the issue will be raised in his [Specter's] talks in Damascus. It was obvious that this was his intention."
 
According to a Foreign Ministry intelligence assessment presented Monday, Syria is waiting out the Bush presidency, and only intends to enter a serious diplomatic process with Israel when the next United States administration takes over in 2009.
 
"Damascus is interested in an agreement with Israel, but only according to Syria's conditions and with American involvement," Nimrod Barkan, who heads the ministry's political research department, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
 
Barkan added that the U.S. twice tried to "open a door for Syria" in 2007, but Damascus failed to meet the administration's demands regarding its continued involvement in Lebanon.
 
According to Barkan, Syria does not believe it can make progress in negotiations with Israel as long as Bush is in the White House, and therefore wants to wait until the end of his term, in hopes that the next administration will be willing to reengage Damascus and give the peace process its blessing.
 


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