Erdogan Assad .
(photo credit: AP)
ready to try again to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Syria if both countries agree to
resume the stalled initiative, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was
quoted by Reuters as saying Friday.
Davutoglu said the IDF's 2008 operation in
scuttled a potential peace deal after
mediated in indirect talks between Israel
"Is it possible to restart it
again? Yes, why not?" Davutoglu said in response to a question about the
"If the two countries agree to
restart it, we can do it. As ,
we are ready," Davutoglu said at the International Institute of Strategic
Studies think tank in .
"The Syrian side already
declared they want to continue from where we left [off]. The Israeli side, they
have different views. Some coalition members are against, some are in favor. We
will see," he said.
"If we see a strong political will, both in and , we will continue to support [peace
efforts]. We will support every attempt, step in the direction of peace."
Israel and Syria
held four indirect rounds of peace talks with Turkish mediation in 2008, but
they were suspended following the resignation of then-prime minister Ehud
Olmert in September of that year.
Syria said at the time of Operation
Cast Lead that it ruled out a resumption of the indirect talks any time soon.
But more recently, Syrian President
Bashar Assad has expressed interest in renewing negotiations with Israel.
Syria wants an Israeli commitment to withdraw from the whole of the Golan Heights,
the Syrian plateau that
conquered in the 1967 Six Day War.
Israel has said it was willing to
resume the talks without preconditions.
George Mitchell, President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy,
discussed reviving peace talks between
and last week with
Assad, who said
had to "declare frankly" it wants peace.
Muslim but secular, Turkey has a history of military cooperation
and has acted as an intermediary for the Jewish state with the Arab world.
But relations have soured recently
repeatedly criticized Operation Cast Lead.
Turkey has meanwhile improved its ties with Syria,
making Israeli officials wary of resuming a mediation role.
Davutoglu repeated that the
Israel-Syria peace talks had been making progress when launched the offensive.
Turkey was "concerned with the policies of
because of Israel,"
he said, adding: "Criticizing one policy of an Israeli government does not
mean the end of Turkish-Israel relations."