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President Barack Obama once
stated that when dealing with the Middle East, we must recognize we've got to
have an over-arching strategy recognizing that all these issues are connected.
In other words, progress in one part of the region will facilitate advances in
another. And progress begins with dialogue.
In May of 2008, Israel and Syria publicly announced their participation in
indirect peace negotiations mediated by Turkey. The two neighbors and some-time
adversaries released a statement by which they declared their intention to hold
the negotiations in good faith and openly, and hold a serious and continuous
dialogue in order to reach a comprehensive peace deal in accordance with the
framework set at the (1991) Madrid Conference. In all, four rounds of indirect
talks between Syria and Israel took place over the course of the past year.
Syria suspended negotiations on December 28th, 2008 in response to Israel's
military campaign on Hamas' home bases in Gaza. Israel had started its military
offensive in late-December 2008 in response to rocket attacks by Hamas radicals
on Israeli civilian targets. Nonetheless, it is time for Syria and Israel to
resume their negotiations.
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The United States strongly supports peace negotiations between Israel and
Syria. The importance of this track of the peace effort cannot be overstated,
said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Peace between Syria and Israel,
the normalization of relations, is something that would be a part of an agenda
of a comprehensive peace effort.
There needs to be peace between Israel and Syria, said U.S. State Department
Acting Spokesman Robert Wood at a recent press briefing. We have an interest in
seeing peace in the region, and we think it's important that all the parties
work toward that goal. . . .The two parties need to sit down and resolve their
differences. That's in the interest of the international community.