Christopher Heads to Damascus

U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher traveled Thursday to Damascus for the second leg of his latest round of Middle East shuttle diplomacy.

Prior to his departure, Christopher met with Foreign Minister Ehud Barak and other Israeli officials to discuss the current status of the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations.

This week, both Israeli and American officials called for the talks to be speeded up in order to reach an agreement before Israeli elections are held in late October.

In Damascus, Syrian media said an agreement could be reached by then if Israel agrees to the key Syria demand – a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

Christopher, who last visited the Middle East in December, arrived in Israel on Wednesday for talks with Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Israeli and Syrian negotiators, who held six days of talks in late December at a secluded site in eastern Maryland, are scheduled to resume their negotiations there later this month.

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