Ankara prepares for a mediation mission between Damascus, Tel Aviv
Turkey-Syria, Politics, 1/26/2004
Turkey's prime minister Racab Tayeb Ardogan said that Turkey is preparing to mediate between Israel and Syria, noting that the two sides responded positively to his proposal.
Ardogan added in a press conference at the world economic Forum in Davos that his foreign minister Abdullah Gul will shortly start a move in the framework of this context, giving no further details.
This comes few days after Damascus and Tel Aviv had ignored a Turkish proposal for mediation, according to prominent Turkish diplomats. In December 2003, Ardogan told the Israeli TV that he wants Ankara which is linked to strong relations with Tel Aviv to mediate between the two enemy countries.
Turkey's relations with Damascus have improved after years of coolness. The historical visit paid by president Bashar al-Assad earlier this month gave more warmth to these relations.
Syria doubted statements made by the Israeli Presidentr Moshe Katsaf during past weeks in which he invited al-Assad to visit Jerusalem and to start secret or open direct negotiations. This, however, coincided with statements made by Sharon in which he called on Damascus to start negotiations from the "Zero point" amid calls from the Israeli rightist not to withdraw from the Golan heights occupied since 1967. A matter which was rejected by the Syrian leadership.
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