Gulf & Middle East
Israel 'not ready' to make peace with Syria: Assad
May 10, 2007 - 5:30:48 PM

Damascus, May 10 - Syrian President Bashar Assad said Thursday that the Israeli government was not ready to make peace with Syria, stressing that negotiations must resume from the point they had last reached in 2000.

He warned that 'weak governments in Israel are capable of launching aggression ... we should be cautious.'

'In fact, there is no progress in the peace process and there is no contact with Israel over this issue, neither secret nor overt, because Israel is not ready for a just and comprehensive peace that requires, to be implemented, strong leadership that could make decisive decisions,' Assad said, addressing the first session of the parliament's 9th legislative four-year term.

He said that Israel would be required to show a 'clear and unequivocal readiness to give back the occupied land to the 1967 borders. The return of the Golan is nonnegotiable for us.'

Assad made it clear that Syria had no conditions for resuming peace talks with Israel, but added that the peace process had' requirements which are bases and principles that Syria could never abandon.'

'Returning to the zero point is impossible. Negotiations must resume from where they had stopped,' he said.

Assad said the policy of isolating Syria 'has faced nothing but failure,' adding that he 'who wants to isolate Syria is in fact isolating himself from the region's issues, because Syria has its role.'

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