The Syrian president has said the US should do more to promote peace between Syria and Israel.
Bashar al-Assad was speaking from Paris ahead of talks with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, who himself met the Israeli prime minister on Wednesday. Assad said that while Barack Obama’s words on peace were positive, the American president had failed to come up with a concrete action plan. The Golan Heights remains the major sticking point on the Syrian side. Israel captured the strategic pocket of land from Syria in 1967 and Syria has demanded it back ever since. For its part, Israel accuses Damascus of backing Hamas and Hizbollah, its militant enemies in Gaza and Lebanon. Israel recently seized a ship it says was carrying Iranian arms to Hizbollah, an act Assad called “piracy in the middle of the Mediterranean.” He said there was no proof the weapons were destined for Hizbollah. US sponsored peace talks broke down nine years ago because of the Golan Heights issue. Turkey picked up mediation last year but that was ended by the Israeli army offensive in Gaza. Assad has said he is open to resuming negotiations but that would require action rather than just words from Washington.