US senator says Syrian president is ready for peace with Israel

President Bashar Assad is ready for peace with Israel, an influential US Senator said Sunday after talks with the Syrian leader. Senator Arlen Specter said the political atmosphere in both Syria and Israel was different now and that the time was "positive" for resuming peace talks between the two countries, halted since 2000. "We had a very productive meeting with Assad," Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, told The Associated Press after talks with the Syrian leader in Damascus. He added that he got the impression after the meeting with Assad that the time was very "positive for productive talks between Israel and Syria."