Assad says Israel is main cause for peace deadlock 24Dec09 December 25, 2009

PressTV -  24 December 2009


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says peace talks with Israel have reached a stalemate because Tel Aviv does not have an interest to achieve regional peace.

“Israel is the main cause for the deadlock in peace. The Israelis want negotiations devoid of principles, that is to say endless talks,” he said on Wednesday at a joint press conference with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan meanwhile hailed Turkey’s fast expanding relations with Syria as a model for its ties with other Arab countries.

“We are in the process of building with Syria a sound structure for the Middle East — we need to create a foundation for peace in the region,” the Turkish Prime Minister said.

“We are living through historic times. We are going to overcome all the obstacles and form with Syria a model for cooperation to be copied elsewhere.”

Erdogan went on to note that Ankara was working on expanding its relations with other Arab states, including Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

During the meeting, Bashar al-Assad described Turkish mediation between Syria and Israel last year as ‘honest, fair and objective.’

This is while senior Israeli officials say they would not turn to Ankara as a mediator in peace talks between Tel Aviv and Damascus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Turkey would not be an ‘honest broker’ in any renewed peace talks with Syria, and that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not a ‘fair mediator.’

Tensions flared between Ankara and Tel Aviv in September after Turkey banned Israel from participating in a NATO air force drill in protest against Israeli offensive into Gaza which killed more than 1400 people, including a large number of civilians .

Ankara, Tel Aviv relations further strained after Turkey refused to take off the air a television drama that depicted Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian civilians.

Under the auspices of Turkey, Israel and Syria held four rounds of indirect talks aimed at a comprehensive peace agreement. Negotiations however reached a stalemate in September after the resignation of former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

Syria withdrew from the talks in protest against Israel’s three-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip in late December 2008 and January 2009 in which at least 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 5,400 others were injured.

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