Syrian Minister Calls on Barak to Return to Peace Table
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak should resume peace talks with Syria on the basis of withdrawing from Syrian territory captured in 1967 if he is serious about peace, Syrian Information Minister Adnan Omran said Thursday.
Barak should "inform the United States of his readiness to resume peace negotiations with Syria on the basis of a complete withdrawal from the Golan (Heights) to the line of June 4, 1967 if he is serious about his desire for peace," Omran was quoted by the official SANA news agency as saying.
Damascus' demands for the Israelis to withdraw from the Golan to the position in force when the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war broke out would give Syria access to the Sea of Galilee.
Israel has accepted the principle of a withdrawal but refuses to retreat so far.
The argument has blocked peace negotiations, which resumed last December after a four-year freeze but broke down again only weeks later.
Omran said "every Israeli government must understand that Syria seeks a peace that restores all of (its) rights and that, in keeping occupied Arab territories, Israel threatens the security of the peoples of the region.
"Ehud Barak frustrated the peace process in the last (Syrian-Israeli) negotiations," which occurred in the United States in December and January, Omran said.
He also "frustrated the Geneva summit" between US President Bill Clinton and the late Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, in March "in pressuring the United States and in rejecting a drawing of the (Syrian-Israeli) borders along the June 4, 1967 line." – DAMASCUS (AFP)
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