Rafsanjani says Israel lacks ‘goodwill’ in talks with Syria

October 23, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Israel lacks “goodwill” in negotiations with Syria, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told Ahmed al-Hassan, a member of the leadership council of Syrian ruling party.

However, Rafsanjani said, “Peace with Syria is very important for the Zionist regime because it will reduce many local and international pressures on this regime.”
Recently, Israel and Syria held indirect peace talks through Turkish mediators. It was reported that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was mediating in talks between the two sides.
Rafsanjani said the return of Golan Heights to Syria is a “strategic demand” of all regional countries.
Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war. The two countries are still technically at war.
Israel and Syria’s previous attempts at reaching peace have repeatedly failed, most recently in 2000. The two countries have fought three wars, and their forces have also clashed in Lebanon.
U.S.-mediated talks between the two countries broke down in 2000 because of disagreements over the extent of an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan. The main point of contention concerns a narrow strip of land along the Sea of Galilee, which Israel wants to keep to ensure its control of vital water supplies.
Rafsanjani also praised Syria’s good relations with Palestinian and Lebanese groups and its positive efforts to strengthen Lebanon’s independence in line with promoting regional security and stability.
“The Arab and non-Arab friends of Syria in the region can be very influential in promoting stability by helping Syria in its fight against terrorism and anti-security measures.”
Rafsanjani said Syria plays very important role in regional security.
“Definitely, the U.S. and Israel will lose from the security and stability of Syria and the expansion of its international relations with other countries.”
Rafsanjani added the “terror and anti-security acts in Syria in recent months are indications of this dissatisfaction.”
On September 27, a huge car bomb killed 17 pilgrims near the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab in the south of Damascus -- an attack that was described as the country’s worst terror attack in more than a decade. A car packed with explosives was detonated near the shrine that attracts pilgrims from many nearby countries.
Al-Hassan thanked Iran for its principled policy in the region and its friendly relations with Syria