'No peace with Syria could mean war'

Barak calls for talks with Damascus, says new Iran sanctions won't work.

February 2, 2010 01:47
1 minute read.
Barak fancy

Barak fancy. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry)

In the absence of a peace deal with Syria, Israel could find itself at war with its neighbor to the north, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Monday.

Speaking at an annual gathering of top IDF officers, Barak said that it was crucial to open negotiations as soon as possible and to do so while the other side – Syria – perceived Israel as being strong.

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The coming year, Barak said, would be one of many challenges but also of opportunities for peace with Syria and the Palestinians.

“In the absence of a deal with Syria we could reach an armed conflict that could develop into a full-fledged war,” he said. “As is in the Middle East, immediately after the war we will sit down and negotiate exactly what we have been talking about for the past 15 years.”

Regarding Iran, Barak said that the Islamic Republic was the greatest threat to world order and that while the United States was planning a new round of tough sanctions it was doubtful that they would have the desired effect.

“We can’t foresee the effectiveness of the sanctions and the chance of the Americans recruiting the Chinese is also not great in light of the developments in US-Chinese relations in recent days,” he said. “As I have said in the past, all options are on the table, and I mean it.”

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