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Top U.S. official: No Syria role while crackdown continues

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Syria has no peace process role as long as its repression continues, a top Obama administration official said.

"Our objective remains comprehensive peace, without question, and an Israeli-Syrian agreement is a component of that," the senior administration official said Tuesday in a background conversation with journalists. "But we can’t really contemplate a peace negotiation with someone who is actively killing their own people, 1,300, as I understand it, up to date. So that’s essentially going to be the situation there for now."

The official also said that Obama’s top Middle East envoys, Dennis Ross and David Hale, are in the region on Wednesday and Thursday for the second time in a week to press Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations.

The Palestinians have expressed interest in Obama’s parameters, announced May 19, as a basis for negotiation. These include basing talks on 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps, and a non-militarized Palestinian state, with security guarantees for Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far resisted accepting the 1967 lines formulation.

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