Gulf & Middle East
Israel should surrender Golan Heights before talks: Syria
Apr 15, 2007 - 3:31:14 PM

Damascus, April 15 - Syria stressed Sunday that if Israel was ready to make peace, it should clearly announce its commitment to give back the full Golan Heights.

'For those who are desirous to make peace, the road to peace is well known as the two sides - have reached an agreement on the greatest part of the controversial issues,' said the al-Thawra government newspaper in an editorial.

'Whoever wants peace should clearly announce his readiness to give back the full Golan Heights ... What points remain could be negotiated over,' it added.

Al-Thawra also reiterated that Syria is not ready to talk peace negotiations 'under the table,' adding that any 'behind-the-scene act is shameful... Syria does not consider peace a shameful act unless it's surrender or concessions.'

On Saturday, Syria distanced itself from comments by a Syrian-American businessman who recently told Israeli lawmakers that President Bashar Assad was ready to make peace with the Jewish state.

Ibrahim Suleiman, a Syrian-born American, said he had high-level contacts with officials in Damascus.

Although he said he did not speak for the Syrian government, he predicted that Israel and Syria could strike a peace deal within six months if they were to resume talks.

A Syrian Foreign ministry source said Suleiman's statement 'does not reflect Syria's points of view,' adding that Syria, 'which is keen about making a just and comprehensive peace, has repeatedly voiced its rejection to conduct secret talks or through unofficial channels.'

'The road to the Syrian peace is very clear ... the full return of the Golan to the borders of June 4th, 1967,' al-Thawra said.

The paper cast doubts over the readiness of the Israeli government to make peace.

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