Assad: Turkey must mediate Israel-Syria peace talks

Syrian president says he hopes peace process can move forward despite Israeli policies which he sees as inimical to reaching an agreement.

bashar assad 311 (photo credit: AP)
bashar assad 311
(photo credit: AP)
Syrian President Bashar Assad met with French Middle East peace envoy Jean Claude Cousseran in Damascus on Monday, assuring him of Syria's commitment to peace, Syrian news agency SANA reported.
Assad stressed the importance of Turkey being involved in Israeli-Syrian peace talks as mediator, in order that the two sides can continue where they left off in previous negotiations mediated by Turkey in 2008.
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The Syrian president expressed gratitude at the efforts made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to promote the peace process.
He added that he hoped the peace process can progress despite Israeli policies that are not helpful in reaching an agreement.
Cousseran stressed the importance Syria has in the success of any regional peace settlement and added that France would like to contribute to the attainment of such an agreement.
Indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel scheduled to occur in Washington in late May were canceled as a consequence of the Israeli raid of the Turkish flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara, in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN that he was supposed to have met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Washington to facilitate discussions with Syria, a move which had been approved by Damascus.
Israel and Syria held four indirect rounds of peace talks with Turkish mediation in 2008, but they were suspended following the resignation of then-prime minister Ehud Olmert in September of that year.
Syria said at the time of Operation Cast Lead that it ruled out a resumption of the indirect talks any time soon.