Report: US backs Israel-Syria talks

Pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat reports that the US has changed its stance on negotiations with Damascus.

assad 224 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
assad 224 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
London-based pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported Saturday that the United States government had changed its position on negotiations between Israel and Syria. The report said an Israeli source revealed that the US government had recently requested that Turkey promote talks between Israel and Syria. According to Al-Hayat, this change of stance came in light of recent violence in Lebanon, and was based on the assumption that peace with Syria would help distance Damascus from Hizbullah. According to the sources, the US has hinted to Israel more than once that, contrary to the country's previously stated position, it would be interested in taking part in dialogue between Israel and Syria. The source, who reportedly met with members of US President George W. Bush's entourage, asserted that it was not by coincidence that both Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not mention Syria in any of their speeches. Reports in recent months claimed that the US had expressed doubts about contacts between Israel and Syria, and regarding exchanges of messages between their leaders. Sources in Damascus had stated that Syrian President Bashar Assad was waiting for a White House response in order to continue negotiations with Israel. Assad had said that Olmert sent him a message that Israel would be willing cede the Golan Heights in a future peace treaty.