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News Brief

August 13, 2004
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Syria wants Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights or to formally commit to doing so before it will discuss peace. Israel’s army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, told Yediot Achronot newspaper Friday that from a military standpoint, it would be possible for Israel to pull out of the strategic plateau it captured in 1967 in exchange for a peace deal. But the statement — a signal from that Israel was prepared to return to talks with Syria, which ended in 2000 over water rights and a dispute over a sliver of land — was rejected by Syria’s Information Ministry, which said Israel must go further if it wants to restart peace talks. “Whoever is willing to make peace should return land to its owners and withdraw immediately or declare that openly and clearly,” Ahmad Haj Ali, an advisor to the Syrian information minister, told The Associated Press.

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