EU not to mediate in talks between Syria and Israel: EU special representative for Middle East

Politics Materials 24 February 2009 21:05 (UTC +04:00)

Belgium, Brussels, feb. 24 / Trend A. Ismayilova /

The European Union is prepared for cooperating on security presence during the indirect talks between Israel and Syria. But the EU should not mediate in the negotiations, Marc Otte, EU special representative for the Middle East, said.

"This is act between Israel and Syria. We don't need participate," Otte told Trend .

The principal mediator is Turkey in the indirect talks between Syria and Israel which resumed in May 2008. Despite four rounds of discussions, Damask and Tel Aviv failed to agree upon the direct talks.

Disputable issue of the talks is return of Golan highlands occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1982.

Amongst European countries, France displays great interest in the talks. However, if the countries agreed on settlement of their dispute - border, water and cetera, we can offer guarantee of assistance in form of security presence, Otte said.

Syria requires Israel to return Kirenet lake situated on the border of Golan Highlands, Israel and Syria. However, Syria refuses fulfilling the main requirements of Israel, such as to slacken cooperation with Iran and cease military support for Hezbollah and HAMAS groups posing main threat for Israel's security.

The cooperation between the EU and Syria will not touch upon the talks with Israel and will be extended as part of the European Neighborhood Policy, Otte said.

The European Neighborhood Policy envisages improvement of relations between the EU and the EU neighbor countries, especially, with Arab countries, as well as cooperation in security, policy and economy.

Relations between the EU and Syria aggravated after assassination of Lebanon Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri opposing Syrian policy in the region. The EU and the United States of America supported Beirut's accusations of Damask's organization of assassination.

However, Syria became the member of the Mediterranean Council in June 2008 established on the initiative of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to improve control over security and trade in basin of the Mediterranean Sea. 

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