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Assad performs elaborate dance to avoid Olmert

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Assad performs elaborate dance to avoid Olmert

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Watching the Syrian leader avoid his Israeli counterpart during the Paris celebrations was a true spectacle – as Bashar al-Assad succeeded in bypassing Ehud Olmert by performing what looked like an elaborate choreography.

It was also impossible not to notice Assad’s absence during Olmert’s speech at the Mediterranean summit on Sunday, just hours after the Israeli prime minister had urged Damascus to open direct peace talks.

Questioned by journalists, the Syrian president said he had avoided a handshake with Olmert because the two nations were still only in indirect peace talks. But he added that Damascus would establish “normal” relations including the opening of embassies if a peace accord was sealed with Israel.