Israel: Syria must shun Iran, terror groups


Israel set terms for peace negotiations with Syria.

A day after Jerusalem and Damascus announced their envoys were holding Turkish-mediated talks on renewing peace efforts, Israeli officials detailed Thursday what they would expect from the Syrians under a future accord.

“Israel wants to live in peace with its neighbors, but Syria also needs to understand that it needs also full renunciation of supporting terror – Hezbollah, Hamas and, of course, Iran,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told reporters in English.

Syria, as it did when the last set of talks broke down in 2000, has made clear that it demands that Israel return all of the Golan Heights for peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to allude to this possibility Wednesday when he said the talks could mean “difficult concessions.”

But Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was the prime minister in 2000, said Syria also would have to pay a price.

“Removing Syria from the circle of belligerence is an important but not a new objective for Israel,” he said. “Peace will only be achieved from a position of strength and self-confidence. Both sides – and I stress, both sides – will be forced in an agreement to make painful concessions, and both sides know this.”

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