Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected Thursday a Syrian overture to open peace negotiations, accusing the Damascus leadership of harboring Palestinian terrorists.
Olmert has repeatedly rejected Syrian President Bashar Assad's recent statements that he desires peace with Israel, saying that so long as he allows Palestinian militant groups, including the Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to take refuge in Damascus, negotiations are impossible.
"These are reasons that even Syria's statements that it is interested in negotiations cannot be taken seriously," Olmert told Israel Radio. "It (Syria) was and remains the main supporter of the Palestinian terror groups who daily try to carry out terrorism against the state of Israel. In my opinion, this is not a foundation on which it is possible to hold peace negotiations."
In an interview Assad gave to the German weekly Der Spiegel last week, he said, "We want to make peace - peace with Israel."