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Israel-Syria: Croatia Steps In, US Backs Away

Israel and Syria: Can Turkey Be a Mediator?

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Israel-Syria_flagesCroatian President Stipe Mesic followed a visit to Israel with talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Thursday. Topics included the promotion of  economic relations, including Croatian investments in oil and gas domains. However, Israeli-Syrian peace talks are also on the agenda, with Mesic offering to broker Syrian-Israeli discussions, holding them in Croatia's Brijuni Islands .

It is not shocking to see a European Union candidate looking for political leverage through its foreign policy agenda. Nor is it shocking to see no change in Israel's position. Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "He held negotiations with the elder Assad, and he saw no reason that he could not hold negotiations with the younger," he continued to insist on direct talks with no third-party involvement and the pre-condition of no pre-conditions.

That in effect is a suspension of the Israel-Syria peace talks under Netanyahu's predecessor Ehud Olmert, with the status of the Golan Heights left off any initial agenda. Meanwhile, Syria is still requesting a broker for the discussions, with Turkey  the first name on the list.

Meanwhile, a warning to Damascus has come from Washington. Jeffrey Feltman, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said that Syria mustreconsider its ties with "terrorist" Hamas, Hezbollah, and groups fighting in Iraq. He added that the US would not go into a dialogue at the expense of Lebanon since there is still no government in Beirut, although he then softened his demands, "We believe that there is further potential for a positive, constructive U.S.-Syrian relationship."

Reader Comments (1)


October 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRamak Sherchan

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