Ahmadinejad 'displeased' by Israel-Syria talks

"Syria's overtures to Israel violate its commitment to Iran"; Turkish official says talks to resume.

tanks golan 22488 (photo credit: )
tanks golan 22488
(photo credit: )
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed surprise and displeasure at Syria's "violation of its commitment to Iran" by holding talks with Israel, the London-based pan-Arabic daily Asharq alawsat reported Friday. According to the newspaper, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem updated Ahmadinejad during a visit to Teheran some weeks ago on the status of his nation's secret diplomatic contacts with Israel. The report also said that Iran's Supreme National Security Council would examine a message from Syria about the talks with Israel in order to decide on an "appropriate response." Meanwhile, the editor of one of Iran's reformist newspapers said that the council had instructed Iranian media outlets, including Internet sites, to "ignore" the topic of the Syria-Israel talks. Earlier Friday, Army Radio reported that Turkish-mediated diplomatic negotiations between Israel and Syria would resume in some two weeks' time. A Turkish official told the radio station that Israel was already interested in holding direct negotiations with Damascus, but that the Syrians were hesitant. The official said he believed that a three-way meeting could take place in the upcoming rounds of talks. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i said in response to the report that Syria's diplomatic overture was intended to remove it from the "war scene" along Israel's northern border. Also Friday, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu denied ever saying that he would not abide by a peace agreement signed with Syria. Netanyahu's office released a statement declaring that not only did the opposition leader not make the remark, but that "the issue was not even discussed by the Likud faction." The statement went on to say that Netanyahu believes that if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a deal with Damascus, it would be rejected by the Knesset and the public by a huge majority. On Thursday, Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar was quoted as saying that the Likud would not be obligated by any peace agreement reached between Olmert's government and Syria if Netanyahu wins the next election and returns to the Prime Minister's Office. The faction met Thursday at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters to respond to Olmert's overtures to Syria, as well as the ongoing criminal investigations against him.