Israel-Syria confirm peace talks

Israel and Syria have said they are holding indirect talks to reach a comprehensive peace agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said both sides were talking “in good faith and openly”.

The Syrian foreign ministry also confirmed the Turkish-mediated talks, the first since 2000.

The last round of negotiations broke down because of disagreement over the extent of Israel’s possible withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

Israel and Syria are still technically at war over the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

It was reported in April that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was mediating in talks between the two sides.

New momentum

In a statement, Syria’s foreign ministry said both sides had “expressed their desire to conduct the talks in goodwill and decided to continue dialogue with seriousness to achieve comprehensive peace”.

Mr Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev said the two countries had indicated “they want to lead these negotiations in a serious spirit so as to achieve complete peace”.

The Syrian foreign minister, Walid Muallem, said Israel had agreed to withdraw from the Golan up to the armistice line of 1967.

Israel has refused to comment on the claim, although a spokesman for Mr Olmert said the current talks were being carried out with the failure of the previous ones in mind, and that the talks had recently gathered momentum.

(Continue reading: BBC News)

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Posted in Dipomacy, Middle East, Peace, Reports/Studies/Books, War

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