Tuesday, November 28, 2006

U.S.: No point for Israel to talk to a Syria that supports terror


"There is no point for Israel to hold negotiations with Syria as long as the latter continues to support and facilitate terrorism, United States National Security Adviser Steven Hadley said on Tuesday.

"Here is Syria, which is clearly putting pressure on the Lebanese democracy, is a supporter of terror, is both provisioning and supporting Hezbollah and facilitating Iran in its efforts to support Hezbollah, is supporting the activities of Hamas," Hadley said, in Riga alongside President George W. Bush for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

"This is not a Syria that is on an agenda to bring peace and stability to the region, and I think Prime Minister Olmert said, under those circumstances, with that kind of Syrian policy, how can you talk about negotiating on the Golan Heights? Seems to me that's a sensible position."

This was the first time an American official has come out publicly in such detail against the proposed negotiations.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has called on Israel numerous times to renew talks, but has simultaneously hinted that Syria would be willing to take military steps if talks did not succeed. Syria seeks the return of the Golan Heights, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. But peace talks between the two countries broke down in 2000.

Olmert has rejected the Syrian president's invitations for negotiations. The official Israeli position is that Syria must cease support of Palestinian terror organizations and Hezbollah guerrillas before renewed negotiations can be considered."

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