Babylon & Beyond

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ISRAEL: Turkey mediates possible Syria deal

April 25, 2008 |  2:12 pm

Despite months of tension, Israel and Syria appeared Thursday to be engaged in indirect talks on the outlines of a peace accord that would include an Israeli pullout from the Golan Heights.

Direct, U.S.-brokered talks over the territory, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War, collapsed in 2000. There have been periodic peace overtures since, but the current effort is viewed as more serious because it is being mediated by Turkey, which has close relations with both countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described his hope for a deal in an interview last week before Passover, telling the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, "I am acting on this issue, and I hope that my efforts mature into something meaningful."

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—Richard Boudreaux in Jerusalem