Report: Assad won't talk to Olmert gov't

Syrian sources: Damascus to wait until after Obama inauguration, new Israeli gov't to resume talks.

olmert erdogan 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
olmert erdogan 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Syria has reportedly postponed a proposal to renew Turkey-brokered indirect talks with Israel. According to a report in the Qatari daily al-Watan, cited by Israel Radio, Arab sources in Syria were quoted as saying that Damascus prefers to wait until after US President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration to the White House, and the establishment of a new Israeli government. The sources added that Syria does not wish to carry out negotiations with outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government in its final days. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report. On Thursday, Olmert announced that he will go to Turkey for talks on Monday. Later that day, he told a Tel Aviv conference that "a peace treaty between Israel and Syria is feasible" and would result in "significant advantages" for Israel. "A peace treaty would lower the possibility of war, break the strategic ties between Damascus and Teheran, lead to the expulsion of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas headquarters from Syria, and would stop the cash flow to Hizbullah," he had said. "Syria does not necessarily want to be part of the axis of evil," he said. "Syria wants to reconnect with the West and the United States." "Removing Syria from the axis of evil is an Israeli interest." The prime minister said that although he could not guarantee the success of a peace process with Damascus, it was important to try. Herb Keinon contributed to this report.