Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem was quoted as saying Thursday that Syria is "more than ready" to renew peace talks with Israel. Moallem, speaking at a meeting with European Union envoys in Damascus, said the two sides must approach peace talks without preconditions.
"If the Israelis decide to renew the negotiations, they will find a willing partner," he noted. Moallem was further quoted as saying that Damascus expects the newly appointed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to press Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to renew peace talks with Syria.
The London-based Al-Hayat daily quoted Syrian sources as saying that Syria will not demand that the United States mediate talks between the two nations, but only that the U.S. sponsor the talks.
U.S. President George W. Bush said earlier this week during a meeting with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert that he does not plan to mediate peace talks between Israel and Syria, and that Israel is capable of managing the negotiations without American help.