Coordination with Turkey central to peace talks: Syria

13th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that coordination with Turkey was the key to help relaunch peace talks with Israel, the official SANA news agency reported.

Assad made the comments in talks with French presidential envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran, a former ambassador to Damascus, who delivered a message from President Nicolas Sarkozy to the Syrian leader, the agency said.

Assad underscored "the importance of coordination with Turkey to build up on what has been achieved in (previous rounds of) indirect negotiations" between Syria and the Jewish state that were brokered by Ankara, it said.

These talks, launched in May 2008, broke off in December that year amid Syrian protest over Israel's devastating offensive on the Gaza Strip.

"Syria is permanently striving for a just and comprehensive peace" based on UN resolutions, Assad told Cousseran.

In August, Sarkozy chose Cousseran to act as his special envoy to help kick-start peace talks between Israel and Syria.

Assad, whose country wants the restitution of the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights as part of any peace deal with Israel, told Cousseran he was "grateful" for French support aimed at reviving the peace process.

He also expressed the "hope of seeing real progress in the peace process, even if Israel's policies do not inspire that," SANA said.

© 2010 AFP

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