Turkish FM confirms Syria-Israel talks on Sept. 18

Hurriyet English with wires
14 Eylül 2008 - 11:38Son Güncelleme : 14 Eylül 2008 - 13:06

The fifth round of Turkey-mediated indirect talks between Israel and Syria was planned to be held in Istanbul on September 18-19, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Saturday.

"We can make a statement about content of the talks only after both parties reach compromise. If Israel does not make any delay, the fifth round of the talks is planned to be held in Istanbul on September 18 and 19," Babacan told a joint press conference after meeting his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Ankara. 

Turkey has been mediating indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria. The fourth round of talks ended in July. Israel and Syria launched peace talks in May, after an eight-year freeze, but have not yet agreed to hold face-to-face negotiations.

The key sticking point in the talks is the Golan, the strategic plateau captured by Israel in the 1967 war with Arab states and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

The fifth round of Syria-Israel peace talks would be held on Sept. 18-19, the Turkish Prime Minister said earlier this month in Damascus where he attended a four-way summit on Middle East peace efforts.

"Six countries submitted a package and a road map to Iran. Negotiations between Iran and those six countries are still continuing. All I can say is that we do not want nuclear weapons in our region. Egypt has the same view with Turkey. We hope that the issue of Iran's nuclear program would be peacefully resolved through dialogue," Babacan also said referring to Iran's nuclear program.

Gheit said Iran's nuclear program should be resolved in a peaceful way, adding his country was against nuclear weapons.

Gheit also said Egypt was quite pleased with Turkey's active role in its region. He said Turkey's efforts aimed at establishing peace and stability in the region in which Turkey had historic relations with the peoples of the Balkans, Caucasus and Arabs.

"Egypt and Turkey are two important and powerful countries and our potential should be used for the advantage of this region," he said.

Photo: AA



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