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Report: Syria's Assad calls for dialogue with Israel

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:39 AM
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Report: Syria's Assad calls for dialogue with Israel
ROME: Syria is ready to hold peace talks with Israel, but is also preparing for the possibility of a war with the Jewish state, Syrian President Bashar Assad said, according to an interview published Friday in an Italian newspaper.


"I say to Olmert: make an attempt. Call our bluff," he was quoted as saying. "The Syrian people are united on this: Reach peace to get back our lands," he said in a reference to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.


"War is always possible in our region. It is natural to prepare (for it)," he was quoted as telling the newspaper. However, he dismissed as "inexact" recent reports that his country is massing missiles on the border with Israel, according to the interview.


"Don't you see that Hezbollah is backed by a large part of the Lebanese population? It is wrong to portray it as a Syrian or Iranian puppet. Hezbollah has its own interests, its own vision. They trust us, so we can influence them," he was quoted as saying in the interview. "We never lost our influence in Lebanon. But it is not interference."

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