- Israel - Mediterranean Union - Syria - Turkey
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert conveyed a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through Turkey's prime minister on Sunday that Israel is serious in seeking peace with Damascus, Israeli officials said.
They said Olmert asked Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
to pass on the message when Erdogan met Assad shortly afterwards
on the sidelines of a Mediterranean Union summit in Paris.
"We said that we believe that we are indeed serious and it's
important to move ahead now," Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev
said. The two countries announced in May that they have been
holding lower-level indirect talks through Turkish mediation.
However, a Syrian government source denied that any such
message had been delivered to Assad.
Assad told a news conference on Saturday that more work
needed to be done on confidence-building and by the two
countries' technical teams before Syria could embark on direct
Direct negotiations over the Syrian Golan Heights, a
strategic plateau captured by Israel in 1967 Middle East war,
broke off in 2000.