Israel, Syria to hold third round of talks
Sanjay Jha | July 1, 2008 at 02:21 amby
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Envoys from Syria and Israel are meeting in Turkey to discuss peace negotiations. Turkish envoys are working as mediators.
Israeli and Syrian negotiators were to meet separately with mediators in Turkey on Tuesday for a third round of indirect talks, Israeli media reported.
Army radio and public radio both said envoys Shalom Turjeman and Yoram Turbowitz are headed to Turkey where diplomats will act as go-betweens for the Israeli and Syrian delegations which will be seated in separate rooms.
Syria and Israel announced in May they had started indirect peace negotiations through Turkish mediators, ending an eight-year freeze.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the time Israel was willing to make major concessions in what was seen as a reference to the Golan Heights, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.
A bill designed to make it more difficult to return the Golan to Syria passed its first reading in parliament yesterday.
The draft law stipulates that any decision to pull out from the territory will have to be put a referendum unless it gets the support of two-thirds of MPs.
The bill must still be approved at second and third readings before it becomes law.
A total of 65 members of the 120-seat parliament backed the bill yesterday, with 18 voting against.
Opinion polls suggest that a majority of Israelis oppose withdrawing from the Golan Heights, now home to some 20,000 Jewish settlers and several military installations.