Words fail Israel and Syria over Golan Heights

SYRIA warned yesterday that the latest round of Middle East peace talks are likely to end without further progress after it rejected Israel's attempt to find a new form of words to break the deadlock over the occupied Golan Heights.

Israel had hoped to be able to hammer out a joint statement of principles with Syria by the time the talks end tomorrow. But Syria's chief negotiator, Mouwafak al-Allaf, said Israel tried to propose phrasing the document to say it was aware of certain provisions in UN Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab territory in return for peace.

'All that we heard today is a statement which says that the Israelis are aware, for instance, of certain words in the Resolution 242, which means nothing,' said Mr Allaf. 'We are not here to remind each other what is written in 242. We are here to try to implement 242,' he said. 'It seems that so far there is no intention or no authority to enter into something serious, something substantive and I'm afraid we maybe cannot expect a change in the coming two days,' Mr Allaf said.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, conceded said yesterday that Israel could not reach peace with Syria without giving back some conquered land and raising the level of current negotiations, but he ruled out a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights. 'I don't want the precedent which was set in peace negotiations with Egypt, by which everything was returned, to be repeated in the Golan Heights,' he said.

Syrian-Israeli negotiations hit a wall last week when Israel refused to discuss withdrawal from the strategic Golan Heights before Syria spelled out a commitment to full peace with the Jewish state. Syria wants Israel to commit itself to total withdrawal. Israel says it wants Syria to promise a peace that includes the signing of a formal treaty, the establishment of diplomatic relations and open borders. Both sides want the other to move first.

But Mr Allaf vowed to continue the talks until their scheduled conclusion and said Syria was ready to accept Israel's proposal to reconvene in Washington on 21 October after the Jewish holy days. Israel's chief negotiator, Itamar Rabinovich, said Mr Allaf's pessimism could be a negotiating tactic to try to extract concessions.

'In the exchanges between the Syrians and us concerning the nature of peace on the one hand and the territorial dimension linked to it organically on the other, we found some points of interest, potentially promising,' he said.

Israel's separate talks with Palestinians aimed at establishing self-rule for nearly two million inhabitants of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip also made no progress. But Lebanon offered Israel a goodwill gesture, informing the Israelis that an airman who was shot down and captured in south Lebanon in 1986 was still alive.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor