Syria calls for the resumption of peace negotiations, Israel sets conditions
Syria-Israel, Politics, 1/26/2005
Syria has renewed its call to Israel to resume peace negotiations between the two sides unconditionally.
This was expressed by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Russian President Vladimir Putin who said in their bilateral talks in Moscow that negotiations in the Middle East should be resumed in the Middle East without prior conditions on the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.
The two sides considered that rapid resumption of negotiations will help proceed forward on achieving a just and comprehensive solution. The statement continued that to reach this settlement "Israel should withdraw from all Arab territories occupied since June 1967." The statement also depended on what was stated by the Roadmap over the foundation of an independent Palestinian state and a fair settlement for the problem of the Palestinian refugees according to international resolutions.
However, Israel rejected this call and set a precondition, namely halting what it described as Damascus's support to groups which seek to launch attacks against Israel.
The Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom said that Syria is able to send a signal to Israel on its readiness to proceed towards peace by returning back the body of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen who was assassinated by Damascus 40 years ago.
Shalom added that such negotiations are but an important objective, but he said Damascus has to close offices and camps of training Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine and Hizbullah party on the Syrian territories.
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