Israelis, Syrians to hold more talks


Israel and Syria are to hold a second round of Turkish-mediated talks on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s top two advisors flew Sunday to Istanbul, where they were to hold a new set of indirect negotiations with Syrian counterparts about the prospects for reviving peace talks which stalled in 2000.

The first round of talks were held last month in an Istanbul hotel, with Turkish diplomats shuttling between the delegates. Syria has balked at face-to-face meetings at this stage, demanding a clear commitment from Israel over the Golan Heights, which Damascus wants returned as part of an accord.

Israeli sources said the talks are currently at the “format” stage, with the sides trying to decide on issues such as who would lead peace negotiations and where they would take place.

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