During a meeting with 32 European ambassadors, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that no American official has ever asked Israel to refrain from negotiating with Syria, and that President Assad is immersed deep in supporting terrorism.
Olmert clarified that Israel is interested in peace talks with Syria, but that the Syrian regime’s support of Hizballah, their efforts to destabilize Lebanon, the support given to the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and their tight connection to Iran, all indicate that there is nothing behind their calls for peace.
Olmert added that “the international community is supporting the implementation of the Roadmap for peace and the implementation of the Quartet’s guidelines concerning the Palestinians. These guidelines demand that the Palestinians uphold their responsibility to renounce terrorism and fight it as a basis for negotiations. There is no reason why Israel should treat Syria any differently regarding their activities supporting terrorism.”
Olmert emphasized that there is wide international consensus that the Roadmap and the principles of the Quartet are a basis to conduct negotiations on the Palestinian channel and this is the only way to move forward. “States supporting the peace process understand that the renunciation of terror and the fight against it serve as basic principles to the ability to move forward and there is a need to demand their implementation,” Olmert said.