Olmert: We are close to holding direct talks with Syria

Israel and Syria are close to holding direct talks, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. In an interview with French magazine La Figaro published Thursday morning, Olmert said that when there is an agreement with Damascus regarding the timetable for the negotiations and the exact issues up for discussion, it would be possible to move to direct talks, adding that "we are not far from this." Olmert refused to say if he would meet Syrian President Bashar Assad at a Mediterranean summit in Paris next month.