Barak: Annapolis parley must be based on premise of Jewish Israel

The peace conference scheduled to take pace in Annapolis must be conducted based on the premise that Israel is a Jewish state and that Palestinian refugees will only be allowed to return to a Palestinian state, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday. Speaking during a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Barak said that nothing agreed upon in the parley, slated for late November, will be implemented before the first stage of the road map is fulfilled, particularly the dismantlement of terror groups. Barak added that Syrian participation in the conference would be positive and should lead to negotiations between Israel and Damascus, stressing that the prime minister agreed with him on this issue. Earlier Tuesday, Israel Radio reported that Washington expressed its displeasure with Barak's initiative to open a separate channel for talks with Syria.