is reporting from
Israel willing to give up Golan - Syrian minister
uusjio | April 23, 2008 at 05:42 pmby
209 views | 0 Recommendations | 0 comments
"Olmert is ready for peace with Syria on the grounds of international conditions; on the grounds of the return of the Golan Heights in full to Syria," Expatriates Minister Buthaina Shaaban told Al Jazeera television in a live interview.
The Israeli position was relayed to President Bashar al-Assad by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who she said will visit Damascus on Saturday.
Damascus will seek details about the Israeli message from Erdogan, said Shaaban, adding that her country had no intention of conducting secret talks with the Jewish state.
"The Israelis talk a lot about peace," she said. "The stance of Damascus is that Syria is always with peace that (guarantees) the return of full rights ... we have negotiated for 10 years for the return of the Golan."
A source close to Erdogan denied that Turkish prime minister had delivered a message to Assad.
Commenting on Wednesday`s reports, Olmert`s spokesman Mark Regev said: "I have nothing to add beyond what the prime minister said on Friday in his interviews with the Israeli press about his desire for peace with Syria."
Olmert told the daily Yedioth Ahronoth last week, in answer to a question on pulling out of the Golan, that he was working to achieve a "significant move" for peace with Syria.
Syrian-Israeli talks collapsed in 2000 over the scope of an
Israeli pullout from the Heights, occupied since 1967. Israel annexed the Golan in 1981 in a move condemned internationally.
As well as strategic high ground, the fertile Golan Heights ensure Israeli control of important water resources in the arid region, land for vineyards, orchards and cattle-grazing.
Around 18,000 Israeli ...