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Israel-Syria Talks in Turkey End | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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JERUSALEM, (AP) – Two days of peace talks involving Israel and Syria concluded Monday and more talks were planned, officials said.

An Israeli official said the talks held in Turkey covered practical matters, without giving details.

Last month Israel, Turkey and Syria announced that indirect negotiations were in progress, with Turkish diplomats shuttling between the two delegations. This was the first round of talks since the announcement.

The Israeli official, who is close to the talks, said the sides agreed to two more rounds with Turkish mediation. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were not public.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed that the talks were held Sunday and Monday and said dates were set for the further rounds, without disclosing them. The Turkish statement said the sides expressed their “common determination to press ahead with the talks and to continue to meet regularly.”

No immediate comment was available from Syria.

Israel and Syria are bitter enemies. Their last round of formal peace talks broke down in 2000 with disagreements over final borders and peace terms.

Syria demands return of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured by Israel in the 1967 war. In previous talks, Israel agreed in principle, but the two sides failed to come together on where the border should run. Israel also said that Syria was not offering full peace in return for such a pullback.

Both sides see potential benefits in resuming the negotiations now. The talks could bolster the position of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose hold on power has been shaken by a corruption scandal, and Syria could emerge from Western isolation by negotiating for peace with Israel.