Syrian FM: Olmert and Assad will not shake hands at Paris conference

It is unlikely that Syrian President Bashar Assad and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will shake hands at a July conference in Paris, according to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. The arrangements regarding the conference indicate that there will not be a shaking of hands between them," said Moallem in an interview with London-based newspaper A-Sharq al-Awsat. Asked about progress in the indirect talks between Syria and Israel, he answered that though "the Israelis described the talks as constructive," he had not yet discussed the matter with the Syrian negotiation representative. Speaking of the possibility of direct negotiations between the two countries in the future, he added that "no source puts pressure on Syria to take part in direct negotiations with Israel."