Syrian-American negotiator Ibrahim Suleiman said Thursday in Israel that Damascus is ready to start peace talks with Israel, adding that he believed an initial agreement could be reached within six months.
"Since 1948 Israeli leaders have said they are ready to talk peace anytime and anywhere," Suleiman told reporters at a news conference after addressing the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Commitee. "Syria right now is ready to speak peace."
"I challenged the Israeli government to answer President Bashar [Assad]'s call for peace and sit down together," he added, according to Haaretz. "I think it can happen in six months."
The peace plan drafted during the unofficial Syrian-Israeli talks last year would allow Syria to cut itself off from Lebanon's Hizbullah and join the global struggle against "terror," Suleiman told Israeli lawmakers on Thursday.
Suleiman asked the Israeli government to allow him to meet with 12 Syrian citizens who are currently serving time in Israeli prisons, the newspaper added.