Talks between Israel and Syria will resume in Turkey this week, with an attempt to reach an agreement about direct talks between the two nations on the agenda.
The Israeli Prime Minister Chief of Staff Yoram Turbowicz and the prime minister’s political adviser, Shalom Turjeman, went to Istanbul in the middle of the week for the fourth round of talks between Israel and Syria.
According to Turkish sources, quoted in the Israeli media, this round of talks will focus on reaching an agreement about starting direct talks between the two countries. Israeli officials, who aspire to this as well, have expressed cautious optimism based on the progress that was made in the first three rounds.
This is the first meeting to take place after the international conference in Paris, in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stood on the same platform with Syrian President Bashar Assad, where Mr. Assad refused to shake Mr. Olmert’s hand.
A Syrian figure close to the Damascus ruling elite hinted during a closed conversation he held recently in Washington that relations with Iran would not constitute a problem in case of peace with Israel.
The statements are attributed to Dr. Ahmad Samir Taki, political adviser to Syrian Prime Minister Naji Otri.
“Syria will know how to evade the Iranians,” Dr. Taki was quoted as saying in a speech he gave last week at the Brookings Institute, during a discussion on the Israeli-Syrian channel and Damascus-Washington relations.
Dr. Taki, director of the Orient Center for International Studies in Damascus, attempted to explain Syria’s closeness to Iran: “The Syrian-Egyptian-Saudi triangle is inactive, which pushed Syria to find local and regional allies. When Syria thinks about Turkey, it is looking for an opportunity. When it contemplates Iran, it thinks about power.”
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008