Ibrahim Suleiman, a Syrian living in Rockville, Maryland, said Thursday that Israel had missed its best chance of achieving peace with the Arab world since 1948. Suleiman allegedly held secret meetings with former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel, sponsored by a European country, which Suleiman said must remain unnamed. Israel denied the whole affair and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Suleiman "an obscure Syrian from the US." In an interview with Channel 10, Suleiman blamed Olmert for the breakdown of the talks. "Assad is a strong leader who can make peace. The prime minister of Israel is too weak. Someone whose popularity is so low cannot make peace." Regarding Olmert referring to Suleiman as 'obscure,' Suleiman said: "He knows he's lying. He was aware of the talks. Why must he call me names?" Suleiman said that Olmert's weakness led the IDF to embark on the Lebanon War instead of using the leverage of the talks to end the crisis peacefully. "The two soldiers could have been home now, without the destruction of Lebanon and without the casualties on both sides." Suleiman said he would not talk to the media again adding that "peace with Syria would mean peace with the whole Arab world. Since Israel became independent in 1948 this was the best chance for achieving long-lasting peace."