On the eve of four-way talks on Syria’s relations with Israel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has underscored Turkey’s role in regional peace brokering. Taking steps to end Syria’s international isolation, while currently in charge of the European Union presidency, Sarkozy is the first Western head of state to pay an official visit to Damascus for at least three years. Host President Bashar al-Assad visited Paris in July. This marks a further warming of relations between the two countries.
Sarkozy said: “France supports with all its force the indirect peace discussions between the Syrians and the Israelis with the Turks acting as intermediaries. It is very important that we move closer to a day when Syria and Israel talk to each other directly, to build the peace that everybody needs.”
Israel has urged Europe to be very careful in its relationship with Syria. It says that even though the country is opening up, Damascus “continues to support terrorist organisations” such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Paris remains cautious about a political rapprochement.