ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey on Saturday said it was ready to help revive the stalled peace talks between Syria and Israel, but the Syrian president said Israel does not appear to be a partner in the process.
“I don’t think conditions are ripe for a successful mediation because Israel does not appear to be ready for peace,” Syrian President Bashar Assad told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. However, Assad said Syria was still working for progress to reach peace with Israel.
“Even if there is one percent risk of a war, we are working to eliminate that,” Assad said in response to a question over whether the two rivals could go to war over their conflicts.
Assad accused Israel of maintaining hostile policies toward the Palestinians and not compromising from its stance, hampering the Mideast peace process.
Gul said Turkey would like to help contribute to the peace process for the stability and welfare of the region. Ankara has mediated several rounds of indirect negotiations between the Mideast rivals in 2008, but the discussions made no significant headway. Syria suspended the talks in response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
Syria has demanded the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights as a condition for peace. Israel’s current government rejects preconditions.
On Iran’s controversial nuclear program, both Syria and Turkey extended support for peaceful use of nuclear energy by everyone, urging a diplomatic solution to the international standoff.