Syria's Assad says no Israeli peace partner
There is no Israeli peace partner, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Friday, also slamming an Israeli law requiring a referendum ahead of a withdrawal from Arab lands annexed since 1967.
"This Israeli position is completely unacceptable from a legal point of view," Assad said of the November 23 law, following lunchtime talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The law notably requires any government signing a peace deal that cedes territory in occupied east Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in 1967, to secure approval either from parliament or a referendum.
It would not affect territorial concessions within the occupied West Bank or the Gaza Strip, which Israel has not annexed.
With peace talks stalled as Israel continues to authorise settlement building in the West Bank, Assad said that US mediation efforts should not be blamed.
"Before blaming the sponsor, you have to blame the concerned parties. Today, we notice that there is no Israeli peace partner," he said.
Assad added that he was opposed to the issue of Jewish settlement building on occupied Arab land being at the centre of peace talks.
"We know that the land will return, with or without the settlements. If you want to talk about peace, you have to talk about the law, the return of territory, you shouldn't talk about settlements or settlement building."
© 2010 AFP