Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that peace talks with Israel had stalled because Israel was not interested in achieving peace.
Israel’s demand for negotiations without conditions meant that it wanted to bring down the peace process, Assad said after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Damascus.
“We discussed today the ways to bring the peace process out of the deadlock that it has reached ... because of the absence of a serious Israeli partner who aims to achieve peace,” he told a joint news conference with Erdogan.
“When Israel says it wants negotiations without conditions it means it wants negotiations with no foundation. This is like having a building with no foundation, then it’s very easy to be brought down and they want to bring down the peace process,” he said.
Peace talks between Israel and Syria faltered in 2000 over Damascus’s demand for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Turkey last year facilitated contacts that focused on Syrian demands for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights, and Israel’s accusations that Damascus was arming militants in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Those contacts failed to produce formal negotiations.
Relations between Turkey and Israel turned sour after Israel launched a three-week incursion into the Gaza Strip last December and Erdogan said Israel no longer trusted Turkey to mediate peace talks with Syria.
On Wednesday, Erdogan reiterated that Turkey remained committed to mediating peace talks.
Meanwhile, a German mediator on Wednesday gave Hamas Israel’s response to a proposed swap freeing hundreds of jailed Palestinians for captured soldier Gilad Shalit, and the Islamist group said it would need days to review the new draft.
Signalling a possible breakthrough, a Hamas official said he expected the group to send a delegation from the Gaza Strip to Damascus yesterday to meet exiled Hamas leaders.
Israeli Security Minister Eli Yishai reiterated Israel’s misgivings over a prisoner amnesty likely to boost Hamas.
“We always say ‘not at any price’ because otherwise our enemies would exploit it. But on the other hand, we have to make every possible effort,” Yishai told Israel’s Army Radio. “Where is the middle ground? I think any further [public] words about this would be excessive.”
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
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