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Israel, Syria in indirect contacts

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The governments of Syria and Israel have been communicating via intermediaries.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev confirmed rumors that Israel in the past few months has been trading messages with Syria. This has been taking place concomitant with saber-rattling on both sides of the border.

“Different parties have been used to send messages. This is not new. It has been going on for quite some time,” Regev said. “The problem is not the lack of good people offering their good offices. The problem appears to be with the policy goals of the regime in Damascus. While it is possible that they talk about peace, that’s all it is, talk.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a speech Tuesday that a third country recently offered to mediate. The country likely is Turkey, which has offered to mediate between Israel and Syria in the past. In any case, mediators have been unable to get the two countries to resume peace talks.

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