Washington, D.C., Asharq Al-Awsat- An official at the United States Department of State has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights is not the agenda of the Annapolis Summit, which begins today.
The Department of State official who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that the conference will focus on relations between the Palestinians and Israel, and that the United States welcomes negotiations on future relations between Syria and Israel and between Lebanon and Israel.
When reminded that Syrian participation was agreed to on the condition of having the Golan Heights on the summit’s agenda the official told Asharq Al-Awsat, “There will be opportunities within the next few days, for any party to discuss any subject it wants to”.
The official added that further negotiations between Israel and other Arab countries are needed to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
The Golan is the focus of Syria’s participation at the U.S. Annapolis summit.
President Bashar al-Assad agreed to send a delegation only after receiving a modified copy of the agenda with a session on restarting Syrian-Israeli peace talks, which collapsed in 2000 over the Golan.
Pro-U.S. Arab governments have put pressure on Damascus to join them at Annapolis. But Syrian officials had made it clear they expect the conference to make little progress toward resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.