Syria FM: Pullout from Golan for peace

Moallem says Damascus won't restart talks unless Israel shows willingness to discuss full withdrawal.

Walid Moallem 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Walid Moallem 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Syria is sticking to its demand that Israel withdrawal from all of the Golan Heights in return for peace. Speaking Sunday during a a news conference with his visiting French counterpart Berbard Kouchner, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem that Damascus would not restart peace talks unless Israel showed willingness to discuss a full withdrawal. Moallem's demand came a week after he responded to President Shimon Peres saying Syria could not expect to receive the Golan Heights from Israel on a silver platter, by remarking that his country actually wanted the territory back on a "gold platter." "Let's face it - it's our land and our right to have it back is the most normal thing in the world, he said, after meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to AFP. Assad said at the meeting that there is no "real partner" in Israel to make peace, stressing that a halt to settlements is essential for restarting peace talks. A day earlier, Peres had asked Steinmeier to made it clear that Assad must understand he could not expect to receive the Golan on a silver platter while he continued to strengthen Hizbullah and maintain contact with Iran.