A senior Syrian official has expressed confidence regarding the possibility that indirect peace talks with Israel will come to fruition, saying that a peace agreement would be a source of "bliss" in the Middle East. "When people can move freely between Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, a great change will take place," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad told the Chicago Tribune. "Our people will enjoy life without bad dreams of the martyrdom of their children, we will improve living conditions and we will open up to the international community." "The impact of peace will be bliss for the entire region," he added. Syria, Miqdad claimed, was aware that there could be no direct talks with Israel without the involvement of the US. "We are confident that the mechanisms of reaching a peace process will definitely evolve into a new stage, where new realities will be established," Miqdad said, apparently in reference to his country's relations with Iran and Hizbullah. "And in this respect, Syria has always respected its commitments. We think if peace is achieved the situation will not be as it is today." Miqdad's conciliatory tone was a far cry from remarks he made as recently as Saturday, when - in an interview with the Jordanian daily al-Dustour - he implied that his country retained the military option of reclaiming the Golan Heights. "The settlers should bear in mind that we will defend our land at any time," Miqdad said. "They should know that the Golan Heights belongs to us and that they should not be raising their children in the Golan, since this is not their place. They will not enjoy their lives there." "Syria has several courses of action if Israel refuses to return the Golan," he warned, adding however, that "we still support peace and are not afraid of entering peace negotiations with Israel."