'Israel-Syria messages exchange failed'

Israel failed to exchange messages with Syria via the third parties in recent months due to the inability to reach an agreed-upon agenda for talks between the two countries, local daily Ha'aretz reported Friday.

'Israel-Syria messages exchange failed'
In the past few months, Israel has tried to approach Syrian President Bashar al-Assad via a number of friendly states, including Turkey and Germany, in an effort to evaluate the possibility of renewing direct contact, the report said.

European diplomats were quoted as saying that the Syrian government insisted that talks should focus only on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, while Israel proposed other issues, such as Syria's ties with Iran and the support for Hezbollah and Hamas.

Accordingly, Israel still has great doubt about the seriousness of Syrian intentions for opening negotiations between the two countries, the report said.

A senior Israeli official said that "the only problem is that the Syrians are not sending positive signals."

"It is a lot simpler and it is possible to achieve an agreement in a short time," said the unidentified official reported to be one of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's confidants.

Some other officials close to Olmert were more optimistic as Syria came to the U.S.-proposed Annapolis peace conference last month, which was seen an encouraging signal, the report said.

At the same time, the U.S. administration, Israel's strongest ally, continues to block Israel from resuming negotiations with Syria over its security concerns, according to the report.

U.S. President George W. Bush told a White House press conference Thursday that his patience with Syrian President Basharal-Assad had run out long ago.

"Syria needs to stay out of Lebanon," Bush said when asked whether he would be willing to talk to Assad about stabilizing Lebanon which is caught up in a political crisis over the election of a new president.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Aralık 2007, 21:02