Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

Sarkozy joins four-way talks in Syria

Latest update : 2008-09-04

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wound up a two-day visit to Syria Thursday with a four-way summit including Turkey and Qatar aimed at boosting the roles of France and the European Union in Middle East diplomacy.

Read international affairs specialist Jean-Bernard Cadier's commentary about Nicolas Sarkozy's goals for the summit.

 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday that participants of the peace talks between Israel and Syria were committed to laying the groundwork for direct negotiations between the two foes. However, the future of these talks remains uncertain due to the approaching Israeli general elections later this month.

 

“The summit seeks to draft a declaration of principles that would form a basis for direct peace talks between Syria and Israel," Assad said during a four-way summit in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

 

Thursday’s meeting gathered French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. “This was the most important moment during Sarkozy’s visit to Syria”, says FRANCE 24’s International Affairs Editor Jean Bernard Cadier.

 

“It’s an unprecedented summit, says Cadier. “Turkey and Qatar’s participation in the Mideast peace talks and the issues discussed makes it different from the past,” he added.

 

The four leaders attending the summit also discussed other regional conflicts including the crisis in Lebanon, Iran’s nuclear programme and the situation in Iraq.

 

Israel and Syria launched indirect negotiations, brokered by Turkey in May 2008. Four rounds of negotiations have already been held but the fifth was cancelled after the resignation of the Israeli negotiator Yoram Turbowitz.

 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Anatolian news agency that the talks would resume on September 18 and 19.

 

Israeli elections put future of negotiations on hold

 

For Mideast observers, the fifth round of peace talks is crucial. It will determine the future of direct talks between the two sides. The Syrians and the Israelis reiterated their demands during the past rounds of indirect talks. “Israel put forward its demands and Syria raised the question regarding the withdrawal (from the Golan Heights),” Assad said without further details regarding the Israeli position on the Golan issue.

 

The key sticking point in the talks is the Golan, the strategic plateau captured by Israel in the 1967 war with Arab states and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

 

The Syrian leader, who initiated the four-way summit, confirmed that Damascus would “respond favourably” to Israeli demands as soon as they are put forward to Turkish mediators and “would immediately enter direct negotiations.” Assad, however, said the future of this peace process would be put on hold until Israel has a new prime minister.

 

“We’re waiting for the Israeli elections to determine the future of these negotiations,” Assad said during the summit. “We want to be sure that the next Israeli prime minister will continue in the same direction as Ehud Olmert over the complete withdrawal from the Syrian territory.”

 

Assad also stressed on the Washington’s role in the Middle East peace process and thanked France for its contribution in the Israeli-Syrian peace talks.

 

Sarkozy, who wrapped up a landmark visit to Syria on Thursday, said Paris was set to give any help required for direct peace negotiations.

 

"I told Assad that if the Israelis accept the principles and the direct negotiations begin, France is ready to help diplomatically, politically, economically and militarily," he told the summit.

 

Date created : 2008-09-04

COMMENT(S)