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Ban upbeat on Israel-Syria talks

Ban Ki-moon offered to help restart peace talks between Israel and Syria.

The U.N. secretary-general said Monday that he was encouraged by peace overtures sounded from Jerusalem and Damascus since last year’s Lebanon war.

“It is encouraging that Israel has expressed the willingness to talk with the Syrian president and all other regional players,” Ban told reporters. “I would be happy to facilitate such peace initiatives.”

But Ban stopped short of offering to mediate in any Israeli-Syrian talks, which stalled in 2000 over the fate of the Golan Heights.

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