Olmert 'awaits answer on Syria talks'

"Relations with Damascus have changed," PM tells Spector ahead of US senator's meeting with Assad.

arlen spector 224 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
arlen spector 224 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday relayed to Syrian President Bashar Assad the message that "a lot has changed in relations between Israel and Syria." Olmert, who made the statement during a meeting with Republican Senator Arlen Spector, asked him to "tell Assad that I await an answer from him regarding the dynamic messages I have conveyed to him in the matter of negotiations." In another meeting that the senator held with a senior official in Jerusalem, the senator was asked to put his weight behind securing a deal that would bring about the release of captured IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who are still being held by Hizbullah. On Saturday, Syrian legislator Muhammad Habash was quoted as saying that "if Syria feels threatened by Israel, it will be hard to stop our missile operators from responding to the Israeli aggression by attacking the Dimona nuclear reactor." In an interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Habash emphasized that the Dimona facility is "within range" of the Syrian missiles. Habash told the London-based newspaper that Syria did not rule out a violation of its sovereignty by Israel and said Damascus was "prepared" for this eventuality. On the eve of the Annapolis conference President Shimon Peres said that "there are talks with Syria, some of them under the radar."