Bennie Begin: 'Syria, Israel should engage in direct peace talks.'

July 22, 2009 13:38

Minister without Portfolio Bennie Begin said on Wednesday in response to Turkish PM Erdogan's visit to Damascus that Turkish-mediated peace talks between Israel and Syria have lost their value and that direct talks between the two countries should now take place. Erdogan was in Damascus on Wednesday to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss peace talks with Israel, among other issues. Erdogan was set to receive an honorary PhD from the University of Halab for his support of the Palestinian cause. Syria and Israel held indirect peace negotiations through Turkish mediators last year. But Syria suspended them in December over Israel's Gaza offensive. Syria has said it is willing to resume the Turkish-mediated talks if they focus on a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, captured in 1967. But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he was not willing to cede the territory.

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