Syria: Decision on talks after elections

Country's FM says Damascus will decide on whether to renew indirect talks with Israel after Feb. 10.

moallem martin 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
moallem martin 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
"Syria will wait for the results of the elections in Israel before making a decision on whether or not to renew indirect negotiations," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Monday at a press conference in Damascus with his Irish counterpart, Micheal Martin. Moallem added that "the matters on the top of the agenda at the moment are alleviating the Gazans' suffering caused by the siege, opening the borders and stabilizing the cease-fire." Also Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad called on Europe to play a "more active role" in Middle East peace efforts. During a meeting with the Irish foreign minister, Assad stressed the "importance of activating the European role" in finding solutions in the Mideast, according to Syria's official news agency SANA. SANA reported that the talks focused on the situation in the region after last month's IDF offensive in Gaza. Assad and Martin underlined the need for Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza and reopen border crossings, according to the report. Last year, Syria and Israel held indirect talks, mediated by Turkey, but the talks made no significant headway.