Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope Sunday that Israel and Syria would soon launch direct peace talks. "We have begun a process with Syria," Olmert said before a high-profile Paris summit. "It is indirect, but I hope they will soon become direct contacts that will allow progress on this track." Shortly after, Olmert met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who later met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said. The Israeli leader told Erdogan that "he is absolutely serious about moving forward with the Syrians." Syria's President Bashar Assad was not immediately available Sunday for comment on Olmert's remarks. A day earlier, he said the talks could move toward direct contacts but suggested that wouldn't happen until a new US president was in place.