Assad: Normal ties with Israel just after Palestine dispute over
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published on Monday that a peace accord with Israel was possible but that normal relations would only be possible if Israel ended its conflict with the Palestinians. "There will perhaps be an embassy and formalities, but if you want peace then it has to be comprehensive. We give them the choice between comprehensive peace and a peace agreement which does not have any real value on the ground," al-Assad was quoted as saying in the United Arab Emirates daily al-Khaleej.
"There is a difference between a peace agreement and peace itself. A peace agreement is a piece of paper you sign. This does not mean trade and normal relations, or borders, or otherwise," he said.
"Our people will not accept that, especially since there are half a million Palestinians in our country whose position remains unresolved. It is impossible under these terms to have peace in the natural sense."
Assad said it was in the Palestinians' interests to coordinate with Damascus over its peace talks with Israel to avoid Israel putting off a resolution with the Palestinians. "We believe that if Israel signs (a peace agreement) with Syria, Israel will put away the Palestinian question," he said.