Peres says Israel open to peace talks with Syria

September 28, 2006 00:01

Vice premier Shimon Peres responded to Syrian president Bashar Assad's claims of wanting to make peace with his country by saying Wednesday Israel would welcome talks if Damascus offered a realistic offer. Assad was quoted in German weekly news magazine Der Spiegal as saying, "We want to make peace - peace with Israel." But Peres said the Syrian leadership's offers to talk peace are not realistic. "Now again, Assad is saying he wants peace," Peres told an audience at the Chatham House think tank in London. "How? That Israel give back the Golan Heights, that Israel will settle the Palestinian problem and then he will deal with us. What sort of a proposal is that? He wants to negotiate - let him come with his opening positions, we shall offer counter positions and we shall negotiate." Peres added it is a "little bit out of proportion" to tell Israel to make all the concessions before any negotiations can begin. While Syria's support for, and its harboring of, figures such as Hamas' top leader, Khaled Mashaal, made peace with the Palestinians elusive.

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