Specter’s Israel-syria Shuttle Fails

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said this week his shuttle effort to restart Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations had failed to bridge the gaps between the two sides.

Specter returned to Israel Wednesday after talks in Damascus with President Hafez Assad and Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa.

Specter said he hoped the two sides would resume peace talks, but gave no indication that it would be soon.

“President Assad said he did not see hope for peace or realism for peace based on what Mr. Netanyahu has been saying,” the Jewish senator told reporters in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Syria has accused the Likud government of dropping the land-for-peace principle which guided negotiations until now.

Syria demands the Golan Heights back in exchange for a peace accord.

While the previous government indicated a willingness to negotiate territorial concessions, Netanyahu has opposed an Israeli withdrawal and has offered to resume talks with no preconditions.

Negotiations with Damascus were broken off by the previous Labor government in March, after President Assad refused to condemn a series of suicide bombings in Israel.

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