Syria open to altering ties with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas

Syria has signaled to the UN’s Middle East envoy a willingness to change its relationship with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas if progress were made towards a peace deal with Israel, Reuters reported Thursday.

UN special envoy Michael Williams told Reuters in an interview that he has conveyed to top Israeli officials his “impressions” from talks with Syrian leaders in recent months, but acknowledged deep-rooted suspicions on both sides would make reviving the peace process difficult.

Williams said Syrian officials had made clear to him during his recent visits to Damascus that they believed negotiations that collapsed in 2000 had largely set the parameters for a deal.

“The Syrian side has basically said, ‘Look the work is done. It’s here in the drawer. The big issues like water, security and access were all looked at then, were pretty much thrashed out. So if negotiations were resumed, then maybe we could make real progress,'” Williams said.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry official recently said Israel and Syria had solved some 85 percent of the problem in past negotiations.

US President George W. Bush, however, has shown little enthusiasm for an Israeli-Syrian peace track, casting doubt on the chances of progress


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