'Israel maintains contact with Syria'

Peres: "Lebanon becoming Iranian satellite state," Arab turnout at summit due to Iran threat.

Israel maintains contact with Syria and transfers messages both overtly and covertly, President Shimon Peres said Tuesday. "The Syrians, however, must resolve two issues," Peres said. "One: the problem of Lebanon becoming a satellite state of Iran, and the other: the permission given to Khaled Mashaal to remain in its territory," Peres said during a tour of the Negev. Peres added that Annapolis was an important step in the peace process, but acknowledged the difficulties. "There are many expectations, many arguments, which is natural," he said. "There are many intricacies and disagreements that cannot be discounted." The president emphasized the importance of American involvement in the talks. "As opposed to previous instances, this time the US is taking a dominant role in the conference, and there is an impression that all sides have an interest in not letting the opportunity slip away." According to Peres, the broad Arab attendance was facilitated by "Iran's extremist policy. Many Arab countries have arrived…because they are beginning to understand that the Iranian threat is daunting." "Iran's extremist policy threatens and frightens many people," he added. "The Arab countries comprehend that the danger is not posed by Israel, but rather by Iran, which is a threat to the entire world."