Olmert warns media against Syria spin

May 25, 2008 at 9:03 AM

JERUSALEM, May 25 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened the Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday by warning the news media against spinning the peace talks with Syria.

"Negotiations with Syria will not be conducted through the headlines of newspapers," The Jerusalem Post quoted Olmert as saying.

Israel "will conduct a thoroughly prepared negotiation process, based on an analysis of today's situation and not based on what was 10 years ago," he added.

Israeli officials said peace talks with Damascus have been going on for several months. The talks center in part on the status of the disputed Golan Heights region.

Syria says the area lies within its territory, although Israel asserts its right to the region from a 1967 U.N. resolution.

Some Israeli lawmakers have criticized the negotiations, The Post said.

"As long as (Syrian President Bashar) Assad is not released from the 'Axis of Evil,' and remains connected to Iran and Hezbollah, talks with him give him legitimacy and only release him from his troubles, and this is a mistake," Trade Minister Eli Yishai said.

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