'Israel accepts Ankara as mediator'

PMO denies Erdogan claim that J'lem wants Turkey to broker Syria talks.

March 9, 2010 05:51
1 minute read.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

A source from the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday afternoon denied a news report quoting the Turkish prime minister as saying Israel has accepted that Turkey will again mediate talks with Syria, and said that Jerusalem has not made any decision to resume peace talks with Damascus.

Turkey's NTV television quoted Recep Tayyip Erdogan as telling reporters in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday that the stalled talks may resume soon.

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The PMO source added that if Erdogan's remarks reflect Turkey's interest to strengthen its ties with Israel and contribute to promoting peace in the region, then Ankara's aspirations were praise-worthy.

Turkey mediated several rounds of indirect negotiations between the Mideast rivals in 2008, but little progress was made.

NTV quoted Erdogan as saying the Syria-Israel talks can begin "any minute." Israel Radio cited the television station as saying that negotiations should start as soon as possible, in order to reinstate stability in the Middle East.

On Monday, the Turkish foreign minister expressed a similar sentiment. Speaking to al-Hayat, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that Damascus is prepared to resume talks where they left off over a year ag.

“All the senior US officials I speak to, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell, totally support resuming the negotiations,” he added.

The Turkish foreign minister told the London-based Arabic paper that he is “very optimistic” regarding the resumption of the Turkish-mediated talks, but said he could not say for sure when this would happen.

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