Friday, September 05, 2008

'June 4, 1967 lines non-negotiable' Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

Israel's withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 lines is non-negotiable and is the basis for the start of direct talks between Israel and Syria, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Friday. Muallem told A-Sharq Alawsat that the next round of indirect talks would be "decisive and important" and would deal with border issues.

He stressed that Damascus was prepared to continue the indirect talks for the moment, since his country had "stamina."

Meanwhile, Druse leader Walid Jumblatt accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of using the talks with Israel to buy time and claimed the Syrian president was not really interested in the Golan Heights, but in restoring ties between Damascus and Washington.

Speaking to the London-based newspaper, Jumblatt attacked Assad and said that Thursday's four-way summit in Damascus involving the leaders of Syria, France, Turkey and Qatar was inconsistent with the Arab initiative for peace with Israel.

Meanwhile, Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan said that neither he nor other ministers had received any information on the peace talks and that he was not aware of a detailed Israeli offer to the Syrians.

"We, as cabinet ministers, have not received any information on the subject," he told Israel Radio.

Eitan went on to say that the Israeli public must be allowed to decide on issues like the future of the Golan, which he said was of "utmost importance."

He added that he would ask Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for updates on developments and that he would tell him that Syria could not be a peace partner as long as it preserved its ties with terror groups and Iran.
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