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FM: Israel won't cede Golan Heights

  |   March 1, 2011 at 10:43 AM
JERUSALEM, March 1 (UPI) -- Israel is willing to enter into peace negotiations with Syria but giving up the Golan Heights will not be on the table, an Israeli official said.

"There is no justification or reason for Israel to cede the Golan Heights," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told envoys from Japan and Romania along with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, Ynetnews.com reported Tuesday.

Israel acquired the Golan Heights, located at the southern end of the border with Syria, during the 1967 War.

Lieberman accused the Syrians of desperately wanting to talk about peace but not really wanting to seek peace.

"They want a peace process in order to get Western legitimacy," he said. "President Assad's only goal is to maintain the rule of the Assad dynasty."

Lieberman's statements followed a month of more than 20 meetings with European and senior U.S. officials.

During a Monday session with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Lieberman said he's not sure the current uprisings in Middle Eastern nations will result in the establishment of democracies.

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