JERUSALEM, April 12 (UPI) -- Syria is ready to begin peace talks with Israel, Syrian negotiator Ibrahim Suleiman said in Jerusalem Thursday.
"Since 1948 Israeli leaders have said they are ready to talk peace anytime and anywhere," Suleiman told reporters at a news conference following his appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Haaretz reported. "Syria right now is ready to speak peace."
The Jerusalem Post said Suleiman's appearance was the first time a citizen of an enemy state has testified before the committee.
Knesset member Zehava Gal-On said Suleiman, who lives in suburban Washington, D.C., and has been involved in talks with Israel for over a decade, delivered a possible peace scenario to the committee in which Syria would stop supporting terrorism and cut ties to Hezbollah and Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Likud Knesset member Yisrael Katz said he had asked Suleiman to tell officials in Syria that Israel would never leave the Golan Heights, the Jerusalem Post reported.
David Baker, a spokesman in the Israeli prime minister's office, said the Syrian government "is not pursuing peace but is merely posturing."
"Syria continues to be more interested in providing safe haven to the 11 terrorist groups it is harboring in Damascus and fomenting terror against Israel wherever it can," Baker said.