Syrian peace calls said sincere

Dec. 25, 2006 at 7:45 AM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Israel's chief military intelligence researcher said Monday that Syrian President Bashsar Assad is sincere in his calls for peace talks with Israel.

Yossi Baidatz, head of Israeli Military Intelligence's Research Division, told the country's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee the Syrian government believes peace negotiations will improve its international standing, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

However, the report contradicts comments made last week by Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that offers of peace should not be taken seriously, as Syria was "more prepared than ever before" to stage a military attack against Israel.

Dagan recommended comments made by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem in a Washington Post interview be ignored.

Moallem said Syria was prepared for peace negotiations with no preconditions, but Dagan said other Syrian officials told Arab media there would be "no chance for peace" unless Syria was given control of the Golan Heights.

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