Assad ready for peace?


France’s president said he is refusing contact with Damascus while a U.S. senator said Syria’s leader is ready for peace.


After meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) told The Associated Press he believes Assad is ready to discuss peace with Israel. U.S. Rep Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) also attended the meeting.


“There is a sense that he is ready and the Syrian public opinion is ready” for peace, Specter said, according to the report. The senator would not confirm whether he had passed a message to Assad from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whom Specter met last week.


Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Sunday after a meeting in Egypt with President Hosni Mubarak that he was suspending diplomatic contacts with Syria until his government has proof that Damascus is letting Lebanon freely appoint a new president.


Sarkozy also called on Israel to aid the Palestinians in forming “a free, democratic and independent Palestinian state.”

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