Syrian FM: We can talk to Netanyahu

Moallem says, however, that Israel must first agree to full withdrawal and Palestinian "right of return."

March 22, 2009 02:57
Syrian FM: We can talk to Netanyahu

Walid Moallem 248 88. (photo credit: AP [file])


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An Israeli government led by Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu would not be an impediment to the resumption of indirect peace talks with Damascus, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Saturday, adding, however, that "Syria and Israel are still in a state of conflict." In an interview with Al Jazeera, the Syrian foreign minister stated that in order for talks to resume, Israel would first have to agree to Syrian preconditions. "Peace cannot be comprehensive if it does not include an Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian and Lebanese territories and a right of return for Palestinians," Moallem said. The foreign minister asserted that Syria was not worried by the prospect of a right-wing government. "We are not involved in assembling Israeli governments and we aren't worried about them," he said. "We have had contacts with all different kinds of governments in Israel." "I'm not worried about Netanyahu serving as prime minister," he continued. "It is better for us that the world engage with an Israeli government which accurately reflects Israel rather than a government that poses as peace-loving."

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