Lebanese paper: Damascus wants peace talks

But Syria sets several conditions to open negotiations with Israel, Al-Akhbar reports.

Assad 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Assad 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Syria has conveyed a message to Israel via Turkey that it is interested in renewing peace talks, Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar reported Saturday. According to the report, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has transmitted messages from Israel to Syria on several occasions expressing Israel's interest in quick and intensive negotiations. While Syria has responded positively, the Hizbullah-affiliated paper reported, Damascus set several conditions: That talks be conducted publicly and not secretly; that Israel show "serious signs" that it is willing to withdraw "from all occupied Arab territories;" that negotiations not be held "under fire" and while "Israel commits massacres against the Palestinians;" finally, that Israel simultaneously negotiate on other Arab tracks, although the report does not specify which. The paper quoted an unnamed "informed source" as saying Damascus did not feel that the US was enthusiastic to achieve progress in negotiations between Israel and Syria, and there was no indication that Israel could override Washington's will at this time.