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Assad: Israel no peace partner

9 May 2010 10:25

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says no “viable peace” with Israel can be achieved in the Middle East since the regime does not seek peace.

Speaking in Turkey on the possible resumption of mediated talks with Israel, Assad told reporters at a joint conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on Saturday, “As for peace, we spoke about peace; you may ask what peace we are referring to as there is no peace, no peace process or viable partner.”

Turkey mediated four rounds of indirect talks between Israel and Syria in 2008. The talks stalled following Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2009 which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

“Peace, as it appears, is not a demand of the Israelis, but we are committed to this mediation and Turkey’s role, but we also emphasize the fact that Israel is not a partner, at least at the present stage, and I do not think they were a partner in the past either,” Reuters quoted the Syrian leader as saying.

“Israel is not ready for mediation because it knows that a successful mediation will bring peace, and the Israeli side does not want peace,” added Assad in Istanbul during his two-day visit to Turkey.

For his part, Gul said Damascus had expressed its readiness to resume the talks a number of times, but the proposal had not been reciprocated by Tel Aviv.

“To tell the truth we have not heard from Israel. Of course, it is their decision to make,” the Turkish President said.

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