Barak: Peace Not a Priority for Damascus

[Jerusalem Post] Herb Keinon - Peace with Israel is not one of the top four items on President Bashar Assad's to-do list, but is still something Israel should pursue, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. "The Syrians have a different agenda than Israel." Barak said Assad's first priority is the survival of his regime. His second priority is getting the international tribunal into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri canceled. Third is securing a "special status" for Syria in Lebanon, followed by getting into the good graces of the U.S. and the West. Only after all those interests does the Golan Heights enter Assad's list of priorities. Barak said Israel has an interest in seeing whether it was possible to pull Syria out of the circle of implacably hostile countries. It was necessary to realize, however, that these talks would continue for quite some time, and that such negotiations were more complicated now than in the past because of Syria's deep involvement with Iran and Hizbullah.

2008-05-26 01:00:00

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