Barak, Lieberman strike different notes on Syria


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ehud Barak and Avigdor Lieberman are publicly sounding different notes on Israeli peace negotiations with Syria.

Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, said Sunday on Israel Radio that he would be willing to negotiate with Syria as long as there are no preconditions. His remarks come a day after he said in an interview with an Austrian newspaper that Syria is "no partner for peace" due to its support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

Syria has said it would not agree to resume peace talks unless Israel expressed a willingness to withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Barak, Israel’s defense minister, told reporters before Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting that Israel has an interest in normalizing relations with Syria.

"It is in Israel’s interest to reach a deal on ties with Syria, to protect our crucial interests, security and otherwise," Barak said. "This will require negotiations. The possibility of such negotiations must be on Israel’s agenda." 

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