Thursday, June 12, 2008

Israel and Syria in Diplomatic Charade

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jun 12 (IPS) - After an eight-year hiatus, Israel and Syria have resumed negotiations -- albeit via Turkish middlemen -- on the issue of the strategic Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967. But according to analysts in Cairo, neither side appears entirely genuine in its desire to reach a final settlement.....

But while Israel-Syria talks are scheduled to resume next week, probably in Turkey, some analysts in Cairo say the negotiations represent little more than a tactical ploy by both sides.

"Syria appears to be merely playing along with the talks," said Kandil. "This way, Damascus hopes to counteract the isolation imposed on it by Washington and prove to the international community that it is interested in peace. Syria also hopes that, by participating, Washington might tone down its support for the regime's political opponents operating abroad.".....

Egyptian analysts expressed little surprise that the two antagonists had chosen Turkey over Egypt -- a traditional leader in the region -- to mediate the dispute.

"Egypt has lost much of its former diplomatic weight," said Kandil. "Turkey, meanwhile, has kept up strong relations with both Israel and Syria, and boasts considerable stature -- political and economic -- in the region." "

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