Peretz: Peace negotiations with Syria a priority

Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Tuesday evening called for promoting diplomatic talks with Syria, Army Radio reported. Speaking to IDF troops on the northern border, the defense minister said that the Israeli need for reaching a peace agreement with Damascus took precedence over foreign interests in the region. Peretz added that Israel must take advantage of every opportunity for negotiations with Syria, and insisted that the government hold an emergency meeting on the subject. Earlier Tuesday, the Prime Minister's Office denied reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had received a letter from Syrian President Bashar Assad offering to renew peace talks without preconditions.