'Syria awaiting Israeli land-for-peace commitment before direct talks'

Syria is merely awaiting an Israeli declaration that it is committed to the principle of exchanging land for peace before it agrees to holding direct negotiations, the most senior Syrian official involved in the Turkish-mediated talks said. In remarks broadcast on Channel 1 on Wednesday, Dr. Ahmad Samir al-Taki said that during the indirect negotiations, both sides had outlined all contentious issues, but that Syria was prepared to discuss these points in direct talks if Israel guarantees that once they have all been solved, it will eventually agree to ceding land. Taki's statement seems to contradict previous reports claiming that Syria was waiting for a new US administration and Israeli government before even considering beginning direct peace talks.