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As Teams Prepare for Talks, Syria Voices Hope for Peace

January 23, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

As Israeli and Syrian teams prepared this week for another round of negotiations at the Wye Plantation in eastern Maryland, Syria expressed hope that peace talks could have positive results.

Syria also said it was not against security arrangements that would ensure Israel’s safety, according to the Syrian official daily Tishreen.

The central leadership of the National Progressive Front, the ruling coalition in Syria, also was hopeful during a meeting that the talks would lead to peace.

The peace talks, scheduled to resume Wednesday and to be mediated by Dennis Ross, U.S. special Middle East envoy, will include military experts from both Israel and Syria to address the Golan Heights issue.

The current round of talks will also address the issue of water. Yossi Beilin, Israeli minister without portfolio, said the discussions would be critical in determining whether a peace agreement would be achieved by the end of the year.

If there is no breakthrough in this round, he said before a World Jewish Congress gathering in Jerusalem, “I don’t believe we are going to have peace with Syria in 1996.”

Beilin said in order for an accord to be reached, Syria would have to agree to a full normalization of ties and to a security arrangement acceptable to Israel.

After the talks, U.S. Secretary Waren Christopher will make an official visit to the region.

Both sides reported progress during the last round of talks, held in December at the same site in eastern Maryland.

For this round, the Israeli delegation will include Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan, the chief of army planning, and Maj Gen. Dani Yatom, military adviser for Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

The Syrian delegation will include Maj. Gens. Ibrahim al-Omar and Hassan Khalil.

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