Solana hopes Syrian-Israeli peace track to make progress

Visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Thursday expressed hope that some progress could be achieved in the peace track between Syria and Israel as it is basic in the overall Middle East peace process. Solana expressed the hope in a statement after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.

The European Union is seeking with all possible means to push forward efforts on this track, noted Solana.

He, meanwhile, reasserted EU’s commitment to the peace process, saying his talks with Assad dealt with regional issues and “means to overcome the hardships” in the peace efforts.

Solana, who arrived here on a two-day visit on Wednesday evening, expressed satisfaction upon his arrival over the indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel through Turkey’s mediation.

During his talks with Assad earlier Thursday, Solana said the EU strongly supports the peace process and seeks to play a constructive role in it, the official SANA news agency said.

Assad said Syria attaches great importance to EU’s “important and essential role” in the peace process.

The two sides discussed in their talks the growing development of the Syrian-European relations and prospects for further cooperation between Syria and the EU at all levels, in addition to a review of developments in the region and the global financial crisis, SANA said.

Syria and Israel have conducted four rounds of indirect peace talks under the auspices of Turkey since May. But the fifth round had been postponed twice due to the volatile politics in Israel.

The key issue between the two neighbors remains the strategic Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed in 1981, a move not recognized by the international community.

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