Israel confirms third-party contacts with Syria

Israel and Syria have been in contact through third parties for "some time," but the mediators have been unable to get the two sides to resume peace talks, an Israeli official said Wednesday. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Turkey, European countries and US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have relayed messages to Syria. He said Syria has not responded seriously to the Israeli overtures and accused Damascus of exploiting the talks to improve ties with the West. "Different parties have been used to send messages. This is not new. It has been going on for quite some time," Regev said. The problem is not the lack of good people offering their good offices. The problem appears to be with the policy goals of the regime in Damascus." "While it is possible that they talk about peace, that's all it is, talk. They are in fact playing the Israeli card cynically in attempts to solve their diplomatic problems with the countries of Europe and North America without any real intentions to change their relationship with Israel," he said.