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Assad eyes regional peace with Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country will only be able to make peace with Israel if Israel solves its problem with the Palestinians.

Assad, in an interview with a United Arab Emirates daily newspaper published Monday, said that no agreement with Israel will be reached until the "issue of one-and-a-half million Palestinians is solved."

Speaking of Israel’s right and left wings, Assad said that "one is bad and the other is awful."

"The right kills Arabs and the left kills Arabs," he said.

Assad told the newspaper that he is interested in pursuing a comprehensive regional peace with Israel.

"The aim of the indirect negotiations is merely to check the pulse," he said.

Turkey has hosted four rounds of indirect talks between Syria and Israel, and has expressed an interest in launching more following a break after the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Israel’s military incursion in Gaza.

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