Brazilian foreign minister: Assad ready for peace

Amorim to Peres: Brazil would like to play a role as a mediator; Peres: We're familiar with Assad's games.

Assad 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Assad 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Just two days after the assassination of Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus sent shockwaves through the Middle East and raised speculation of Israeli involvement in the attack, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told President Shimon Peres that Syria was ready to talk peace. Amorim, who met Peres in Jerusalem on Thursday after concluding a visit to Damascus, said that from his perspective "Syrian President Bashar Assad was ready for dialogue with Israel." The Brazilian foreign minister met with Assad just hours before Mughniyeh's assassination on Tuesday. Peres responded to the message by saying that Israel was always looking for peace, but that it was impossible to ignore the Assad's contradicting behavior. "It is not possible to extend one's hand to peace, while [extending the other] to the funding, hosting, and arming of terror organizations, [including] Hamas and Hizbullah," Peres said. The Brazilian foreign minister encouraged Peres to push Israel into a more active role in the peace process, and said that his country was interested in playing a part in facilitating that process. "We don't support one side or the other," Amorim said. "Oil doesn't matter to us, we're interested in acting out of good will as mediators in order to reach a settlement to the conflict between Israel and its neighbors."