Syria to decide on peace talks after Israeli elections
Syria is awaiting the outcome of the Israeli general election before deciding whether to renew indirect peace negotiations with Tel Aviv, Israel's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told reporters on Monday. "We will have another evaluation" of a revival of peace talks if the government formed after the February 10 election "shows it has a wish for peace, a just and comprehensive peace based on the implementation of UN resolutions," Muallem said at a joint news conference with Irish counterpart Micheal Martin.
After the Israeli offensive on Gaza Strip, the people of the region "are no longer enthusiastic about the peace process. Their priority now is to reduce the suffering of Gaza's people through the lifting of the blockade, the opening of crossing points, reconstruction and consolidation of the ceasefire," he said, according to AFP.
"Then we will move on to inter-Palestinian reconciliation," between the Hamas movement which controls the Gaza Strip and the Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Muallem said.
Earlier, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called for increased European involvement in solving problems afflicting the Middle East, highlighting Israel's onslaught on Gaza, the official SANA news agency reported. "(Assad) underlined the importance of activating the European role in the region to help find appropriate solutions to the problems it faces," the news agency reported Assad as saying during a meeting with Martin.