Assad: Golan guarantee before talks

Bashar Assad conditioned new peace talks with Israel on a guaranteed return of the Golan Heights to Syria.

“There must be guarantees to return the whole land,” the Syrian president said Tuesday in a speech to parliament. “We cannot enter negotiations without knowing what they’re going to be about. They must present a word of trust or something written.”

Since last year’s Lebanon war, Israel has expressed interest in restarting peace talks with Syria that stalled in 2000 over the fate of the Golan. But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected Syrian preconditions while demanding that Assad show good faith by ending his support for Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups.

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