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ISRAEL - SYRIA

Olmert: Peace talks needed 'soon'

1 min

As a third round of indirect talks between Israel and Syria came to a close in Turkey on Thursday, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said that direct peace talks between the two countries would have to be conducted "very soon".

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EILAT, Israel, July 3 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert said on Thursday peace talks between Israel and
Syria, now mediated by Turkey, will have to be conducted
face-to-face "very soon".


"With the Syrians, we are talking seriously and in my
estimation very soon the negotiations will have to be direct.
They will not be able to continue in the mode in which they are
currently being held," Olmert told an economic conference in the
southern Israeli resort city of Eilat.


Olmert made his comments as a third round of indirect talks
between Israel and Syria came to a close in Turkey on Thursday.


A Turkish government source told Reuters that Israel and
Syria have agreed to hold a fourth round of indirect talks in
late July. During that meeting, the sides will decide whether to
move to direct talks starting in August, the source said.


"The problems are less complex than they appear," Olmert
said without elaborating. He said a peace deal with Syria would
have wide-ranging implications for Israel and the region.


"I think the strategic significance of such a move cannot be
ignored," Olmert said.

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