US senator sees 'real opportunity' for resuming Syria-Israel peace talks

There is "a real opportunity" for Syria and Israel to resume peace talks with help from the United States, an influential US lawmaker said Saturday. Senator Arlen Specter spoke in Damascus shortly after arriving for a two-day visit with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a member of the US House Appropriations Committee. "I think there is a very important moment in the Middle East and there is a real opportunity if the parties are ready to move," Specter told The Associated Press. "It's up to the parties. It's up to Syria and Israel, but the United States, I think, is in the position to be helpful." Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, was scheduled to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Sunday to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process and strained US-Syrian relations.