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Israel is holding indirect peace talks with Syria with the mediation
Israel is holding indirect peace talks with Syria with the mediation of Turkey, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said in a statement Wednesday.

"The two sides have started indirect peace talks under the auspices of Turkey," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said in a statement.

"The two sides express gratitude to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey for their participation in this process and their generous hospitality," the statement also read.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said in April peace talks would only be possible if Israel accepted his demand for a full return of the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six Day War.

Israel earlier said talks with Syria that had stalled in 2000 could be resumed, but on the condition that Damascus first disassociate itself from Palestinian terrorist groups, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran.

In April, Assad said he had received a message from the Israeli leadership via Turkish mediators saying Israel was ready to swap the Golan Heights for peace.

Syria and Turkey also confirmed the reports. "Syria and Israel have started peace talks with the mediation of Turkey," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.


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