‘Syria ready to talk to Israel’

February 15th, 2008 - 4:03 pm ICT by admin  

Tel Aviv, Feb 15 (DPA) Syria is prepared for peace talks with Israel, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim has said. Amorim made the statement in Jerusalem Thursday after he arrived in Israel following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Israeli media reported that the Brazilian minister brought Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Perez a message from al-Assad, in which the Syrian president spoke of opening direct talks with his Middle East neighbour.

Perez however rejected the offer and accused Syria of supporting anti-Israeli groups such as the radical Islamic Palestinian group Hamas and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

The message from Syria was the first in months where it openly expressed its readiness for dialogue with Israel. At the end of December, Damascus accused Israel and the United States of blocking all Syrian initiatives to end the conflict.

A central issue in the Syrian-Israeli dispute is the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.

Washington meanwhile accuses Damascus of supporting terrorism and meddling in the affairs of Syria’s neighbour Lebanon.

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