Israeli PM says 'ready' to meet Syria's Assad
Israeli PM said he was "ready" to meet with Syrian President Assad, a senior Israeli official said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he was "ready" to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, a senior Israeli official said.
The Israeli official quoted Netanyahu from comments at a meeting in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who pressed ahead in their 90-minute session with a U.S.-led effort to bring a resumption of the stalled Middle East talks.
"Sarkozy raised the Syrian track, and Netanyahu replied he was ready to meet with Assad anywhere, anytime, on the basis that there are no preconditions," the Israeli official told reporters travelling with Netanyahu.
Netanyahu had flown to Paris from Washington where he met with President Barack Obama about so-far failed efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stalled since December and still snared in a Israeli insist against calls to halt settlement construction.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak seemed to echo Netanyahu's intent in a speech in Tel Aviv, in which he said on Wednesday that Israel "ought not make light of the signs of readiness for peace coming recently from Damascus".
Assad, who is expected in Paris on Thursday for two days of talks including with Sarkozy, has expressed interest in renewing negotiations with Israel alongside moves to steer Syria out of Western isolation.
Israel and Syria held inconclusive talks which faltered in 2000 over Syria's demand for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured in a 1967 war and later annexed.
Turkey later mediated a limited series of contacts between the two countries, which failed to result in any formal negotiations.
Reuters Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Kasım 2009, 11:02