A meeting between the leaders of France and Israel appears to have given a nudge to at least one aspect of Middle East diplomacy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly said he is willing to re-start long delayed talks with Syria. If confirmed, this will be a feather in the cap for French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is playing host to Syria’s President later today.
Relations between Israel and Damascus faltered in 2000 over Syria’s demand for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured in 1967.
Meanwhile, anti-Israeli protesters made their feelings known about the Netanyahu visit to Paris.
The Israeli leader is being pressed hard by the US and Europe to halt Jewish settlement building in the West Bank – a pre-condition for the Palestinians to resume their stalled talks.
Improved relations with Syria would at least reduce one area of tension.
Israel ready to talk peace with Syria