Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Israel and Syria to discuss peace

Israel and Syria will be talking to each other. Here's the press release from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office:
Syria and Israel have started indirect peace talks, under the auspices of Turkey.

The two sides stated their intention to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind. They decided to pursue the dialogue between them in a serious and continuous way, in order to achieve the goal of comprehensive peace in accordance with the Madrid Conference terms of reference for peace.

Both sides thanked the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkey, for their role in this process and their generous hospitality.
Here's additional information from JTA:
Israeli-Syrian talks were last held in 2000 but collapsed over a demand by Damascus for the full return of the Golan Heights, which were lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Assad has signaled no flexibility over the Golan. Olmert, in turn, has preconditioned peace on Syria first disengaging from Iran and ending its support for Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism.

The disclosure that new negotiations are in the works looked likely to stir up right-wing Israeli ire against Olmert, who has already been weakened domestically by a police investigation into his finances.
Losing the Golan Heights would be huge since right now, it serves as an Israeli border and is helpful to Israeli defense in the event of a possible attack. It would not surprise me to see people speak out against Olmert soon enough. He is looking weaker every day and the financial investigation does not help him at all.

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