Syria says it will press for cease-fire

Syria, one of Hizbullah's main backers, said Sunday that it will press for a cease-fire and was willing to engage in direct talks with the United States to help end the fighting between Israel and the Islamic group in Lebanon. But Syrian officials said Damascus would only cooperate within the framework of a broader Middle East peace initiative that would include a return of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in 1967, and warned they will not stand by if the Israelis step up their offensive. "Syria and Spain are working to achieve a cease-fire, a prisoners' swap and to start a peace process as one package," Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal was quoted as saying by the Spanish daily newspaper ABC. "Syria is working on achieving real, comprehensive, fair peace based on the withdrawal from all the occupied territories, including the Golan."